Before I took my trip to California, “Silicon Valley” was just another place I heard about in the media. I knew it existed, but it wasn’t real to me.
It did become real as I flew into the San Jose airport, giving me an aerial view of the valley. As I drove through the area with my guide, I could see it from the ground level, and I understood why they call it Silicon Valley.
Silicon Valley is located in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay. It includes the city of San Jose and the surrounding cities and towns. The “Valley” comes from the terrain – it’s in the Santa Clara Valley. The “silicon” comes from the large number of silicon chip trailblazers and manufacturers and, more recently, the fact that it’s home to the world’s largest high-tech corporations. That includes 39 businesses in the Fortune 1000 and thousands of other startup companies. Silicon Valley accounts for one third of all the venture capital investment in the United States. Because of this, it’s developed into a type of venture ecosystem for high-tech innovation and scientific development. It was here that the silicon-based integrated circuit, the microprocessor, and the microcomputer as well as other key technologies, were developed.In the middle of a web of expressways and a colony of commercial buildings was a place of peace and holiness that was impenetrable. It was the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace. Click To Tweet
As we drove, I saw them – companies that before hand had been nothing more than a label on a device or an name in an advertisement. And in the middle of a web of expressways and a colony of commercial buildings was a place of peace and holiness that was impenetrable.
It was the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace.
I saw her before I saw her shrine. From down the road and above the tops of the buildings, I saw our Blessed Mother lovingly beckoning to all who pass by. It’s not that the buildings are so small, but rather that she is so, well, large.
You see, the image of Our Lady of Peace at the Santa Clara shrine is formed of polished steel and stands 120 feet from the ground. The statue itself is 90 feet and the base upon which she stands is another 30 feet. I never thought I would like an image of Mary formed in metal, but this one is truly exceptional. It is so exquisitely crafted and she is so beautiful that I immediately fell in love with her.
Her expression is what I like most of all. Her face is full of love and pleading as she looks out over Highway 101 and across the valley. Her hands are extended, not in blessing as we see in other images, but rather in a gesture of beckoning.She’s calling to her children, “Come. Please come to me.”
But there’s more.
She calls her children to herself, but not for herself, but rather for her Son.
She calls her children to herself, but not for herself, but rather for her Son. Mary’s mission always has been and always will be to lead us to Jesus. She carries on this mission at the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace in a most astonishing way. The shrine is also a vibrant Catholic parish with Perpetual Adoration. You could say that it’s the “shrine that never sleeps” because the church and shrine are open 24/7/365. Anyone, everyone, can go there to visit our Lady and adore her beloved Son at any time of day or night throughout the year. She calls to her children to come closer to Jesus and to experience his Presence in the Monstrance.
And they do come.
The parish has three Masses daily and the rosary prayed communally at the beginning of each hour, led by volunteers. It’s not unusual for Sunday Masses to attract 500 – 1000 attendees. Special events can attract as many as 5000.
The daily Mass I attended while I was there filled the church.
The shrine is aptly named, as well, for the entire place is enveloped in an aura of peace. Surely, that’s why there is a constant flow of visitors and worshipers around the clock. The piece there so tangible that you could almost scoop some up and hold it in your hands.
All this right in the middle of the worldly, hectic, and ever-changing empire of technology. The contrast is at the same time striking, shocking, and miraculous.
In her quiet, loving, motherly way, Our Lady of Peace is the real center of Silicon Valley.
Copyright 2018 Marge Fenelon
Here are a couple of videos I shot while at the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace Shrine. Enjoy them yourself and then please share them with a friend!