For over 25 years, pilgrims from the Chicago area and beyond have visited Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica, 3121 W. Jackson Blvd., to pray for the intercession of St. Peregrine, the patron saint of cancer patients. The basilica is home to the national shrine and holds Masses in Spanish and English once a month to pray for healing through the saint. The Friar Servites of Mary, whose community St. Peregrine belonged to, started the shrine in Chicago in 1955 at St. Dominic Church near the now-demolished Cabrini-Green Homes. After that church closed, it moved to Assumption Parish, 323 Illinois St. In 1991, the Servites moved the shrine to the basilica, where Cardinal Joseph Bernardin blessed it. “People come from all over the world. Not just from Chicago,” said Servite Father Chris Krymski, shrine director. “They all make a special trip because they hear this is the national shrine.” Others don’t know that the shrine is there but stop by to visit the basilica. “As I give them a tour of the basilica, they start telling me about their malady and I tell them you must have been called to come here because this is the national shrine of St. Peregrine,” Krymski said. Being a national shrine means providing spiritual support and relics of the saint to more than 90 St. Peregrine shrines in the United States. The shrine publishes a newsletter and operates a phone ministry where people can call for intercessory prayers. St. Peregrine Laziosi lived in Forlis, Italy, in the 1300s, during which there was a war between the pope and the emperor over the papal states. The pope closed the churches in Forlis because of the fighting. A Servite priest, Father Philip Benizi, asked the pope for permission to travel to the town and preach about reconciliation. While he was preaching there, a group of teens began to heckle him, and one slapped him in the face. That was Peregrine Laziosi. It is said that Benizi prayed for the youths’ conversions. “As he was walking out of town, one of the youth ran after him and said, ‘Father, I want what you have. You’re a holy man of God.’ So the prayer was answered. That was a miracle through the Holy Spirit,” Krymski said. Peregrine later joined the Servite community and was the porter of the monastery. He answered the doors all day and night to people asking him for prayers. He would take those prayers before a fresco of the Crucifixion, where he would stand for hours on end. “Over the years, he got these things called varicose veins and the one on the right leg became an ulcer, wouldn’t heal and became gangrene,” Krymski said. A surgeon was called, and he said he had to amputate the next day. “That night Peregrine goes to the fresco scene prays to Jesus, Mary and the Beloved Disciple, now for himself. He falls asleep and dreams this picture of Jesus coming off the crucifix and touching his leg and healing it,” Krymski said. “That’s what happened.” St. Peregrine died May 1345 and was declared a saint in 1725. Ed, who asked that his last name not be used, was diagnosed with stage-four prostate cancer over 13 years ago and has been attending the once-a-month St. Peregrine Masses in English ever since. He’s also had many years of severe facial pain for which doctors have found no cure. “I come here. I like the Mass. I have a lot of faith in this,” Ed said. “We don’t live near here. So many of the other people don’t live near here.” He and his wife attend the Masses and receive consolation and peace, he said. “It’s a beautiful place. I would be here if I wasn’t sick.” For information about the shrine, visit ols-chicago.org or call 773-638-0159.