Our Lady of Lourdes, Lacombe, Louisiana

Our Lady of Lourdes, Lacombe, Louisiana


Photo Collection


OUR LADY OF LOURDES, LACOMBE, LOUISIANA

Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine located on Davis Drive (Fish Hatchery Road) in Lacombe, Louisiana was constructed by Father Francis Balay in 1923. Father Balay came to Lacombe in 1915 to finish the construction of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lacombe. During his pastorate, Father Balay conceived the plan of erecting a Shrine Chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes in a wooded spot reminiscent of the Gave Area at Lourdes in his native France, a plan he soon brought to completion with the help of his parishioners. The spot chosen is known as Forest Glen with a spring bubbling in the Ravine Creuse near Bayou Lacombe. FatherBalay offered Mass for the first time in the little chapel on June 10, 1923. The chapel that served as a pilgrimage throughout World War II is a favorite place of prayer and devotion where believing faith will go to pray to Our Lady and to use the water of the spring that many claim has cured them of spiritual and physical ailments. Copies of photographs taken by Sherry Wood in Lacombe, Louisiana, Spring 1981.

Pix # Date of Pix Size of Pix No. of Pix Kind of Image Negative

1 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

Now marred by vandalism, this sign acts as an identifying marker for Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine which might otherwise go unseen from the road because it is located in a very woody area.

2 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

This shows the Lourdes Shrine and the fountain which is located directly in front. Originally a wooden fence surrounded the whole area in order to keep out animals, but when remodeled in the 1930s a small iron fence was installed only around the building.

3 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

This east side angle shows both the front and one side window. Only the front windows are stained glass. The others originally were, but are plain glass now.

4 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

A closer view of the altar. Notice the figurines and the Greek inscription.

5 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

Here are the original stained pews in the shrine.

6 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

This is a good example of the stucco work of the interior which Father Balay did by hand. On each side are Stations of the Cross.

7 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

Above the tabernacle a bronze crucifix once rested but was one of the many items stolen in recent years.

8 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

Another view of the steeple from the east side.

9 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

A close-up view that shows the fountain has been broken and fallen over. The crucifix immediately behind was added a few years after the shrine.

OUR LADY OF LOURDES, LACOMBE, LOUISIANAContinued

Pix # Date of Pix Size of Pix No. of Pix Kind of Image Negative

10 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

This bridge which was constructed in the late 1930s replaced the original S-shaped wooden bridge which wound around a tree.

11 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

Of a plate. This plaque was installed on the base of the crucifix in 1971 in memory of Jules F. Andrieu who started to bronze the crucifix but never finished and the plaque reads in memory of Jules F. Andrieu and family, 1971.

12 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

This view of the steeple is from the west wide of the shrine.

13 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

This bronze tabernacle is one of the shrine’s most magnificent pieces. Behind the door is where the consecrated host was kept during Mass.

14 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

Station 14 of the Cross. These are aligned on each side of the church’s walls interior.

15 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

A crucifix is on the top of the altar. Notice the stucco walls. It shows a part of the wooden altar with a wooden crucifix stained a darker color.

16 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

From the west side both the shrine and crucifix can be seen. This is an outdoor picture.

17 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

Another outdoor picture which shows the crucifix from the front. Originally the shrine was a wooden building, but when remodeled was covered with stucco.

18 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

This view of the bridge shows one of the two hoops from a cistern which was originally placed at both ends of the bridge in hopes of growing flowers around the hoops.

19 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

This is one of the two original stained glass windows on the front of the shrine.

20 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

The back side of the crucifix is visible when looking out of the Shrine’s front door.

21 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

This figure of Joseph sits on the right side of the tabernacle.

OUR LADY OF LOURDES, LACOMBE, LOUISIANAContinued

Pix # Date of Pix Size of Pix No. of Pix Kind of Image Negative

22 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

This view from the altar shows the pews, Stations of the Cross and the lovely stained windows. This is an interior view.

23 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

This inscription which gives both the date of construction and the Father who built the shrine was carved in the cement when the bridge was built in the late 1930s. It is located under the end hoop.

24 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

This picture which is a silhouette picture of the steeple of the chapel with the Cross reads: The steeple with the crucifix on top still houses the shrine’s original bell.

25 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

The altar as it appears now. Originally an iron fence and archway enclosed the altar.

26 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

The Virgin Mary statue sits in a forward alcove as you enter. A statute of St. Bernadette once rested on the ledge below the Virgin Mary.

27 Spring 1981 3 x 5 1 B&W copy print 35mm B&W

This log was placed in the shrine after Father Balay’s death by Mrs. Tranchina of Lacombe. A statute of Sacred Heart once rested on the tree log.



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