In 1995, Mother Angelica traveled to Columbia to raise funds and seek assistance for EWTN’s Spanish programs. She was invited by Salesian Father Juan Pablo Rodriguez to attend Mass at the Sanctuary of the Divine Infant Jesus in Bogotá. It was here where Mother Angelica heard the words that gave her a new mission: to build a shrine honoring the True Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
This project would culminate in a beautiful church attached to a monastery for her growing community of Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, a community dedicated to a life of prayer, penance, and adoration of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. As she visited the small chapel dedicated to the Divine Child, she heard the statue speak in the voice of a young boy. “Build me a Temple,” the voice said, “and I will help those who help you.” Mother Angelica heeded those words as she had responded to the challenging commands of the Lord so often before. She shared the story with her community after returning to Alabama, and she and the nuns began immediately to search for land on which to build. Months of searching procured a beautiful space, and Divine Providence provided five very generous families who offered to completely fund this ambitious project. Thus, without taking any funds from EWTN and without having to raise any funds on her own, Mother Angelica was able to bring to fruition her desire, born of a request from the Divine Child, to build a shrine where people of all faiths could adore Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Even the process of building was marked with reminders that this was truly God’s project. The majority of the construction took place in the three years leading toward the Great Jubilee Year of 2000, with major milestones completed with truly symbolic timing. In 1997, the Year of Jesus, the monstrance for the main sanctuary was completed, and the Rose Windows of the Holy Spirit and God the Father were completed in 1998 and 1999, the Years of the Holy Spirit and God the Father.
Many people, Catholic and otherwise, come to pray at this spot dedicated to the Divine Child and populated with sisters vowed to a life inspired by Sts. Francis and Clare. In the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, all are welcomed in love as Catholics seek to grow in their love for the Eucharist and many others seek a quiet place to pray, often leaving with a greater knowledge of and respect for the Catholic faith. Truly a manifestation of Divine Providence, the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament remains a beautiful oasis of prayer, a true refuge for those seeking solace and peace in the arms of the Savior, and an ecumenical point of contact between Catholics and their brothers and sisters in Christ.