Make your day trip a pilgrimage

By Michelle Martin | Staff writer
Sunday, July 31, 2011

Under canon law, a shrine is a church or other sacred place approved by the local ordinary to which the faithful go to make pilgrimages (Can. 1231), according to the Catholic Dictionary.

In these pages, Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago can find places for short pilgrimage trips of perhaps a day or two. Some, like the St. Therese of Lisieux Shrine in Darien, Ill., offer a chance to view and venerate relics of a particular saint.

“People come to imbibe the spirituality of the saint,” explained Mercy Sister Jane Schlosser, who offers tours at the Carmelite monastery where the shrine is located.

Typical tours include a talk about St. Therese, time in the chapel, a visit to the room that houses relics such as a tambourine St. Therese played, a tea cup in which she served her father pretend tea as a small child, and a chalice and paten she handled as a sacristan in her monastery in France. There are also original photographs of the Little Flower, who died in 1897 at age 24. There is Mass and lunch, followed by time to pray and visit the book and gift stores, Sister Jane said.

Those who want to travel a bit further could make the trip to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in LaCrosse, Wis., which emphasizes that a pilgrimage is, by definition, a journey, much like the journey through life said shrine communications director Eugene Diamond. Visitors there enter the pilgrimage center at the bottom of the hill, then make their way up along a path with several spots to stop and meditate or reflect on the mysteries of the rosary or the spirituality of the saints.

At the end, they come to the shrine church, where Christ is reposed in the tabernacle, he said, just as at the end of our journey on earth, we will come face-to-face with God in the beatific vision.


National Shrine of St. Therese – Darien, Ill.
8501 Bailey Road
(630) 969-3311
Shrine is open: Mon.-Sun., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mass: Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.

With the largest and best collection of Little Flower relics and memorabilia outside of Lisieux, France, this shrine paints the picture of the life of St. Therese. The shrine sits on a 50-acre Carmelite campus, and includes a museum devoted to St. Therese and a chapel for worship and reflection. Within the museum, one can visit the original statue of St. Therese commissioned in the ‘20s and her preserved belongings. A recent addition is a statue of Our Lady of The Smile, who healed the young Therese. There is also a collection of statues of Our Lady of Mount Carmel from all over the world – to emphasize that she is the Carmelite model of a contemplative and attentive life. In the chapel lies a wood carving of the saint’s life, the largest wood carving of a religious nature in the United States. Private tours of the shrines are available, as well as pilgrimage groups of 20 or more can be arranged for a day retreat or an overnight.

Our Lady of Snows – Belleville, Ill.
(618) 397-6700
Mass: Monday – Saturday 7:30 and 11:30 a.m. Saturday evening 5 pm Sunday: 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.

The first Solemn Outdoor Novena was held at this shrine in 1951 and since, it has become an annual event which still attracts thousands. Oblate Father Paul Schulte commissioned artist J. Watson Davis to paint Our Lady of Snows. The painting depicted an Oblate missionary and his airplane on a call to visit an ill Inuit with Our Lady of Snows appearing surrounded by rays of the Northern Lights and can be found in the Visitors Center Lobby at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.

The shrine is located on 100 acres of farmland on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River Valley. The shrine is said to be an exceptional example of modern architecture and the beauty of the landscaping is enhanced by the carefully selected spots for trees, shrubs and flowers.

St. Anne Church – St. Anne, Ill. 
230 N. Sixth 
(815) 427-8265
Mass times Sat. at 4:30 p.m. Sun. at 9 a.m., Tues. and Thurs. 8 a.m. and every first Friday at 8 a.m.

Founded by Father Charles Chiniquy, in 1852, the church has been standing since 1872, after having survived a fire in 1893. The structure is topped with a bell tower and a shrine to St. Anne, established in 1888 to provide parishioners with a replica counterpart of the shrine at Beaupré, Canada. After several miraculous cures have been reported, the shrine is now well-known throughout the Midwest.

St. Mary of the Field – Prophetstown, Ill. 
24772 St. Mary’s Road
(309) 935-6911
Retreats available by appointment Open 24 hours a day.

The shrine features the “Rolle Bolle” walking rosary that stretches 106 ft. by 65 ft. The rosary symbolize the Immaculate Heart of Mary and offers a place to pray, rest and meditate. The Memorial for the Unborn reminds all to pray for mothers and unborn children. The recent addition to the shrine is the Grotto of Our Lady of Fatima, surrounded by a flower garden, which represents the events of Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. On the first Sunday of each month from May to October, a holy hour is dedicated to honor Mary.


Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine – La Crosse, Wis. 
5250 Dustin Road 
(608) 782-5440
The Shrine is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from June 1 to Aug. 31.

The Mother of Good Counsel Votive Candle Chapel provides a place of serenity and inspiration for prayer with a display of more than 550 votive candles. The shrine’s Meditation Trail is a half-mile walk that leads to the shrine church and outdoor devotional areas. The outside Stations of the Cross wind along a bluff in a natural setting and offer a place to rest, meditate and pray. A Rosary Walk is an opportunity to recount biblical stories of Mary and teachings of Jesus. Here, a presentation of the Hail Mary is presented in several different languages. The memorial to the unborn, dedicated on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, remembers the unborn and displays the church’s teaching on moral issues like abortion and stem cell research. The Flores Mariae Gift Shop is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help – New Franklin, Wis. 
4047 Chapel Drive
(920) 866-2571 
The shrine is open seven days a week, all year round from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Daily Mass: Mon. 8 a.m., Tues. 8:30 a.m., Wed. 7 p.m., First Fridays 8 a.m. and Sat. 8 a.m.

Known as “The Chapel” by the local inhabitants, the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is built directly over the site where Mary “The Queen of Heaven” appeared to Adele Brise, a young Belgian immigrant woman, in October of 1859, one year after the Marian apparitions occurred at Lourdes. Events include Solemnity of the Assumption on Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. and the Fatima Days “13th Day Celebrations” on the 13th day of each month from May to October.

Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill – Hubertus, Wis. 
1525 Carmel Road
(262) 628-1838 
The shrine, church and grounds are open 5 a.m.-5 p.m. and the Scenis Tower is open from May 1 to Oct. 31, Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and Sun. 1:30-4:45 p.m.

This shrine is about 45 minutes northwest of Milwaukee and has been operated and is cared for by the Discalced Carmelites. As Jesus frequently prayed on the Mount of Olives, his followers come to climb the steep path to Holy Hill. The shrine’s seclusion and isolation make it an ideal place for private or group retreats. The main sanctuary is filled with a crafted marble altar, bronze tabernacle, a mosaic canopy and massive columns to accentuate the sculpture and artwork.

Definitely a must-see destination for “shriners.” Extraordinary view of the area, especially when the leaves are changing, from the bell tower whose steps can be walked with or without shoes. Special Masses include Sunday Marian devotions, Stations of the Cross, Mass for health and healing and the Rosary.

National Shrine of St. Joseph – DePere, Wis. (St. Norbert University grounds) 
(920) 337-4300
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Access is available through the Spirituality Center on weekends.

This shrine, recognized by Pope Leo XIII as the National Shrine of St. Joseph in 1892, is home to the crowned statue of Joseph and Child Jesus. The holy setting provides a serene atmosphere for prayer and contemplation. A public holy hour with adoration and perpetual novena to St. Joseph is held at the shrine every Wednesday at 5:15 p.m.


Carmelite Shrine – Munster, Ind.
1628 Ridge Road
(219) 838-7111 
The shrine is open Sundays (Easter to Nov. 1) from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will open weekdays if an appointment is made one day in advance.

Established by a group of Polish Carmelites after World War II, this Carmelite shrine and monastery are dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes and the altar to Our Lady of Czestochowa. This shrine has continued to serve the Polish community for years in addition to helping other local parishes.

For pilgrimages and retreats, Mass is available in English, Polish, Italian and a conducted tour is offered in these languages and Spanish.

Shrine of Christ’s Passion – St. John, Ind.
10630 Wicker Ave.
(219) 365-6010
The shrine is open Mon.-Thur. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fri.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Shrine of Christ’s Passion includes an interactive half-mile journey through Christ’s death, the Marian Wayside Shrine, featuring an Italian marble statue of Mary built in 1954 and the Sanctity of Life Shrine, featuring a tombstone in honor of the unborn and a bronze statue of Jesus holding an unborn child. An ideal location to experience the Passion of Christ in an interactive way, allowing meditation, prayer and contemplation.