DeAnn Sadleir, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, works as a tour guide for www.funforlesstours.com. She travels to historic and exotic places around the world. I sat down with DeAnn recently to ask her about a few of her favorite places. She shares her 5 favorite off-the-beaten path spots that fill her soul with peace and the Spirit of God.
Capernaum is a little city on the west banks of the sea of Galilee. The Savior went to Capernaum when He was expelled from Nazareth after the townspeople rejected Him from their village. Capernaum is the site of the Apostle Peter’s mother-in-law’s home and the miracle of the man lowered down to Jesus from the ceiling. Two thousands years ago, hardly anybody would have even heard of Capernaum. It was just a small little village on the trade route from Egypt to Damascus.
About Capernaum, DeAnn said,
“This little town cradled the Savior. You can just feel the comfort of the city. I love the feeling there because I’m really into comfort and experiences that heal & testify of Christ. Isaiah 9:1-2 talks about those darkness see a great light. The peaceful message and light of the world come from this spot. God prepared this little village as a place for His Son to work & live out of.”
2-Off-the-Beaten-Path: Vor Frue Kirke (The Church of Our Lady) in Copenhagen
Construction on Vor Frue Kirke, the National Cathedral of Denmark, began in 1187. Destroyed by fires several times in its history, the church was rebuilt in the neoclassical style in 1829. Bertel Thorvaldsen decorated the cathedral’s interior with statues of Christ and apostles (Paul replaces Judas). Thorvaldsen’s portrayal of the resurrected Lord, Christus, prominently stands with arms outstretched.
“The original Christus is created out of white Carrera marble. The whole setting is so intimate and lined with 12 Apostles in hall of Christ. Peter holds the keys. We are blessed to know what those keys mean. There is such a spirit about that place that testifies of Jesus. The statue of Christ is stepping back, but at the same time His arms come forward and you can’t help but think He’s saying, ‘Come unto me, let me protect you, and love you.’ I just get chills standing there.”
3-Off-the-Beaten-Path: Meryem ana or Meryem Ana Evi (The House of the Virgin Mary) at Ephesus
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich wrote detailed descriptions of The House of the Virgin Mary after a series of visions in the 1800’s, identifying the spot as the place where John took Mary, the mother of Jesus, to live the rest of days. While not officially authenticated by the Catholic Church, pilgrims regularly visit the site.
While clarifying that she does not know about the correctness of the tradition, DeAnn loves the site.
“I have a real affinity for Mary and the role that she played in God’s plan. As Mormons, we don’t worship her, but, Mary was the greatest woman who walked this earth. If you go early in the morning, the little house is quiet and comforting. I like to go there and reflect on Mary and her life and thank her for that burden that she carried her entire life. It’s so tender and so sweet.”
4-Off-the-Beaten-Path: Albert Dock in Liverpool
Opening in 1846, Albert Dock was the first non-combustible warehouse system. Workers could load and unload ships directly into the warehouses. Those docks in Liverpool became the central point of emigration for thousands of European immigrants.
DeAnn worked for two years as co-chairman for the Sea Trek Foundation, commemorating emigration of European Latter-day Saints to America.
“We had a statue commissioned of the crossing which sits at Albert Dock. To me, it was sacred ground. That statue represents 85,000 Latter-day Saints who emigrated from Europe to America. From that dock, my grandfather sailed to America when he was 2 years old. His mother, my great grandmother, brought seven children and was pregnant when they left from that dock. To me the dock is a symbol of moving forward because of your faith and trying to move towards Zion–putting everything you have on the line to build up Zion. That’s what these people did. They didn’t just sit at home and say “the Church is true” and not do anything about it; they moved. For many people, it was the last time they saw their loved ones and homeland again. It’s sacred that so many people made that step from there. Their story inspires me. If they did that, I can do “this”, I want to do “this” and I need to do “this”. It’s sacred because they are my people; my story starts from right there.
5-Off-the-Beaten-Path: Rock Bound Chapel in Brooklin Maine
The town of Brooklin, Maine, is home to 841 people (as of the 2010 census.) During the summer, historic Rock Bound Chapel opens its doors every Thursday evening from 7-8:00pm for community sing alongs.
DeAnn travels to Brooklin, Maine every summer.
“I go to Rock Bound Chapel on Thursday nights. Anyone who would like to come and sing praises to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is welcome. The church is just charming & intimate. To me, this is the story of American Christendom. Everyone is welcome, regardless of all the debate and argument and the differences of opinion on doctrine. One thing we all agree on when we go there is that Jesus is the Christ. It’s always packed with around 200 people. The cutest man leads the singing and a lady plays the piano. People just call out hymn numbers from the audience. I love to hear all of these songs that are so beautiful and rousing and tender and stirring and I walk away thinking this world is filled with good people. I want more of that bridge building and I want to feel more that I am the family of Christ. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and the restoration. I love these ecumenical situations where all the boundaries come down and people just worship together. To me, the experience is just a little glimpse of what the millennium will be like when we all accept the Savior and we all believe and sing praises to the Savior.”