It was the summer before I started high school when I first visited Our Lady of the Pines. Located in the small community of Silver Lake, West Virginia, it sits by a road I’ve traveled many times since. I’m always compelled to stop for a visit when I’m near. Built in 1958, it’s the same age as me! I’m always impressed by how well it’s maintained. Originally built as a memorial, it continues to be cared for with love and devotion.
The church markets itself as the smallest church in 48 states and whether this is true, or not, matters little to me. It measures 24’ X 12’ and has only six tiny pews. The stained glass windows, the handmade crosses and candelabra, and the hand woven altar linens all add to the interior’s beauty.
On the church grounds, there sits a small wishing well, and it was at this well that I made a fervent wish all those years ago. I wished that my parents would let me have a kitten. When my wish became a reality, I was convinced that Our Lady of the Pines was a magic place.
I don’t think I even knew it was a Catholic Church until my latest visit. It may be just a few steps beyond normal for a Protestant to commune with God in a Catholic Church but I personally think God doesn’t care who finds peace inside those walls.