Most North American spiritual places are either magnificent cathedrals rivaling those found in European cities or ancient meeting places which natives considered holy ground for centuries before European settlements. A few unique spiritual places celebrate both Christian and traditional native beliefs.
Cathedral Church of St Paul - Boston, US: This Greek Revival style cathedral, founded in 1819 and located across from Boston Common, is the cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
St Louis Cathedral - New Orleans, US: A major landmark of New Orleans’ French quarter, America’s oldest active cathedral has a fascinating history. A 1722 hurricane destroyed the original structure, a 1788 fire destroyed the second cathedral, and the current structure’s unique architecture prevents it from water table sinkage.
Cathedral of St John the Divine - New York City, US : The world’s largest cathedral and the main church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York has a strong interfaith tradition. Construction of this colossal structure - the size of two football fields - is still only two-thirds complete. Highlights include the largest stained-glass window in the US and a tribute to the fire-fighters who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
St Patrick’s Cathedral - New York City, US: Visited by over three million people each year, this white marble structure is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York and America’s largest Catholic cathedral.
St Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral - Seattle, US : Known as the Holy Box and home of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, this fortress-like cathedral built on a steep cliff offers breathtaking views of Seattle’s skyline.
Washington National Cathedral - Washington, DC, US: This Episcopalian cathedral is America’s second largest and the country’s national house of prayer. Former presidents Dwight D Eisenhower and Ronald W Reagan received state funerals here, and Woodrow Wilson is among many notable Americans buried in its mausoleum.
Bighorn Medicine Wheel - Wyoming, US: This sacred medicine wheel was originally constructed about 700 years ago to align with the stars. Native tribes still visit this rural Wyoming mountain location for rituals and ceremonies.
Crater lake - Oregon, US: Formed by Mount Mazama’s collapse, the Klamath tribe still considers this beautiful Cascade Mountain lake as sacred.
Mount Shasta - California, US: Native legend believes this Cascade mountain peak is home to Skell, the spirit chief who descended to its summit from heaven. It is considered sacred by Native Americans and New Age followers alike.
Ocmulgee National Monument - Macon, Georgia, US: Humans first inhabited this Ocmulgee river site over 10,000 years ago. Today, this site features the Great Temple Mound, a burial mound; prehistoric paths; and the site of a colonial trading post.
Serpent Mound - Ohio, US: Originally created between 1000 and 1500 AD, this Adams county effigy in the shape of a long serpent is the world’s biggest mound, although the reason behind its creation remains unknown.
Lac Sainte Anne - Alberta, Canada: The annual Lac St Anne pilgrimage uniquely combines Catholic and traditional First Nations beliefs. Today, this ancient native meeting place is the site of western Canada’s largest Catholic gatherings, held on July 26 to commemorate Saint Anne’s feast day during the traditional native summer gathering time.
Majorville Medicine Wheel - Alberta, Canada: Permission must be obtained before entering the rural area where this ancient sun temple as old as Stonehenge is located. Visitors are recommended to bring sacred offerings of tobacco, cloth or sweet grass.
Stein Valley Rock Paintings - British Columbia, Canada: This is one of Canada’s largest native pictograph sites, and it is important not to touch the rock paintings out of respect. It is traditional to pray and ask permission to safely travel the valley at Asking Rock, where tobacco and burnt sage offerings are made.
Peterborough Petroglyphs - Ontario, Canada: This impressive collection of over 900 limestone images was rediscovered in 1924. It is believed the Algonkian people originally carved these images, which they called ‘the rocks that teach,’ between 900 and 1400 AD.
Notre Dame Basilica - Montreal, Canada: The grand Notre Dame Basilica’s original architect was so moved during the building process, he converted to Catholicism. Today’s visitors to this 4,000 seat neo-Gothic church will be equally amazed by its splendor.
St Joseph’s Oratory - Montreal, Canada: This basilica built in honor of Canada’s patron saint is Montreal’s highest point, with a dome second in size only to Rome’s St Peter’s Basilica. Pilgrims from all over North America come to pray for healing at the shrine of Brother André, the healer who built the church in 1904.
Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré - Quebec, Canada: More than a million pilgrims have prayed for healing at the basilica of this small town 20 miles outside of Quebec City. The 1658 cure of a crippled workman became the first of several miracles at this site, many of which are documented at the Sainte Anne Museum.