Yarnell Hill wildfire spares St. Joseph Shrine of the Mountain - New York News

Yarnell Hill wildfire spares St. Joseph Shrine of the Mountain

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YARNELL, Ariz. -

Even though a massive wildfire blew through the town of Yarnell, Arizona, destroying 129 homes -- a shrine that has special meaning to many people still stands.

The shrine of St. Joseph of the Mountain in Yarnell was mostly spared, and it's been a place of refuge for people around the state.

Among the boulders in the town of Yarnell, you'll find a shrine built in 1939 that now has a story to tell all its own.

"I would have to call it a miracle.  We do have some damage here at the guest house, but as I said, this place is a very sacred place.  It's a place of meditation for many people who come up from the valley just to be here," said Diana Stitt.  Her home in Yarnell was spared.

Built by the Catholic Action League of Arizona, it has become a place for prayer, meditation and spiritual services.  There are several statues, one of St. Joseph, another of Jesus praying, one of the tomb and at the top of the mountain, the crucifixion of Jesus -- where the cross is burned, but his body remains intact.

The Stations of the Cross at the Shrine of St. Joseph lead up to the top of the mountain. That one wasn't touched by the fire.  This one was damaged.  The one below it was nearly destroyed.

"All through the shrine, it's all done in rock.  There's little segments for spiritual things and it portrays Jesus on the cross -- it's a place of healing," said Stitt.

A ray of hope -- something this community can use after such devastation.

Three buildings burned at the shrine, but all the statues were untouched.

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