Two Tales of Inspiration in One City
It was on my bucket list to visit the Our Lady of The Rockies in Butte Mt. So, I headed to the Copper Mining town and upon arrival discovered 2 things. #1. I had to take a bus ride up a steep winding mountain dirt road to get there and #2. I was too late for the daily tour. I only had one night so I did the next best thing and visited the tiny museum and snapped a picture from the highway of Our Lady. Our Lady was an idea created from the heart of a desperate Husband, Bob O'Bill, who prayed his Wife would recover from cancer. He made a pact with God that if she survived he would build a 5ft statue honoring Mother Mary. His prayers were answered and in 1979 the project began. Six years later, with donations of money and man hours, Our Lady was completed and craned up in sections to Her destination atop the Saddle Rock on Butte's East ridge of the Continental Divide. The end result was the 3rd largest statue in America raising 88.6ft high to the heavens. Fear and bad timing left me at her base, but someday I will make it to the top! However, this story took a turn for me because during our overnight stay at the Old Finlen Hotel in downtown Butte, we traveled off the beaten path and found a Memorial dedicated to the Granite Mountain/Speculator Mine disaster. In 1917 during Wartime production, 168 Men died in the incident caused by a fire in the mine..the most deadly event in underground hard rock mining. With only us there, the outdoor Memorial felt still. Overlooking the mining site, plaques display the letters Miners left to their families before perishing in the mine. I gazed over the ridge of the memorial and across the way Our Lady overlooks the entire city. Our Lady is meant to watch over all women especially Mothers, but I think she blesses All in her gaze. What really affected me was when I looked through the photos I took across the mine, I noticed a beam of light coming from the sky down onto the mining site. It gave me pause and made me believe that this town was special because it has 2 sources of light and hope shining upon it. The Our Lady and The Souls of those lost shining down in that beam of light. Through grief and sadness hope still shines here. Many find Butte to be a run down town. This active mining town is rich with history. It inspired me because this little town endured many struggles, but as a community they were able to come together and create two destinations of hope from charity and tenacity. That is what communities are built on. A town very much like our own I thought. Deep with history. Much of it in need of love and care...with signs of hope and rebirth everywhere. With history as it's beacon of light.
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