Welcome to the small Luxembourg village of St. Donatus, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with some of the most glorious scenery in all of mid-America. If this is your first time in St. Donatus you might want to visit the Gehlen House and Barn, or the Kalmes restaurant, but you are really here to find "The Way".
I suggest you park at the following coordinates ( N 42 21.828 W 90 32.115 ) and follow the signs on the right of St. Donatus Catholic Church, to a small metal gate at the end of a steep trail. Make sure you close the gate after entering (many "baaa-d" things will happen if you forget!)
You are now at the start of the first Outdoor Way of the Cross in America, also called "Via Dolorosa", "Way of Sorrows", or simply "The Way".
In December 1858, Father J. Michael Flammang, a native of Koerich, Luxembourg, arrived as pastor in St. Donatus. He became the guiding force in this small Luxembourg settlement, where he remained until his death on December 6, 1883.
The Outdoor Way of the Cross, built by Father Flammang in 1861, consists of 14 red-brick stations along a winding path up the hill. Each station contains an original lithographic print detailing Christ's Passion.
The culmination of the trek up the mound is the Pieta Chapel, added in 1865. Perched atop the mound, the Pieta Chapel can be seen from the village below and it also offers spectacular views of the St. Donatus countryside. The chapel is modeled after the Chapel Du Bildchen in Vianden, Luxembourg. Inside the chapel is a simple altar with a statue of the Pieta. The Outdoor Way of the Cross and the Pieta Chapel are self-guided tours that continue the great spiritual tradition of the Luxembourgers in St. Donatus.
Don't be surprised if you see a group of friendly sheep roaming the Way of the Cross grounds. They serve in providing old-fashioned lawn care! The sheep are mostly cute and wooly, as sheep tend to be, but their droppings can be a challenge. I recommend wearing old shoes for this adventure.
The Way of the Cross is open from sunrise to sunset.
**Congratulations to JDLC1936 for FTF on November 26, 2013 at 11:37 a.m.**