Old historic markers along the lake in front of the St. Anne’s shrine near Lake Wales.
Back in the 1920’s a group of French Catholics from Canada came down to Florida to escape the winters (sound familiar?). They spent some time on a small lake just outside of Lake Wales. One of the men had a son who was terminally ill and ended up getting better while they were at the lake so they built a church and grotto after St. Anne. After World War 2 the Canadians eventually stopped coming and the church was eventually torn down. The original grotto and some of the statues are still there. I had heard about this little spot and stopped by on a recent trip to Bok Tower Gardens. It’s only 10 minutes from the gardens. The shrine sits back in some woods right off the lake and is surrounded by houses now. Growing up Catholic, we use to go visit the Ave Maria Grotto in north Alabama so I was curious about it.
This grave sits near the alter.
I’ve heard that people still hold unofficial services here. It was very quiet while I was there during the week. There might be more people on the weekends or near Easter.
Some of the old original walls of the church.
I noticed this pop of color growing deep in the woods around the grotto. Assuming someone planted them there years ago.
Of course, there was a sandhill crane couple sitting in the tall grass along the lake right in front of my car. I changed out my short lens for a longer one and snapped a few pictures.
It would be interesting to know what the neighbors along the small lake think about the people who stop by to see the shrine. I would hope people visiting would be quiet and respectful of the area. Did the people who moved to the houses next to the shrine do so because of the shrine or did the area just happen to be close to work or maybe they liked the lake?