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Pop in at a shrine on your summer holiday (Part 1: Upper midwest)


From the only shrine to be built on the site of a miracle, to a church vandalized by the KKK, to the largest grotto in the world ...

Summer is almost here, and if you are taking a road trip, what follows might just be the “way to go.” There are more than a hundred Catholic shrines spread all over the USA. From the east coast to the west coast, from Canada south to the Gulf of Mexico and the Mexican border, shrines are awaiting visitors, Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  

Here is a list of 15 shrines located basically in the middle and middle-north section of the United States. Stay tuned for east coast and west coast versions!

Detroit, Michigan  

Nheyob | CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Shrine of St. Anne Founded in 1701, this is the oldest parish in Detroit and the second oldest operating parish in the United States. St. Anne’s has been designated the official Archdiocesan Shrine of the Diocese of Detroit.
  • The National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica Named after St. Therese of Lisieux, the church was built in 1926. Two weeks after it opened the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross in front of the church. An earlier version of the church was also destroyed by fire on March 17, 1936.

St. John, Indiana

Ron Zack | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • The Shrine of Christ’s Passion  Walk a winding, half-mile route that depicts the last days of Jesus’ life. Forty life-size bronze sculptures are set in place depicting the Last Supper to the Resurrection and the Ascension. Complete with soft interactive music and narration.

Libertyville-Marytown, Illinois (Chicago area)

National Shrine of St Maximilian Kolbe via Facebook | Fair Use
  • National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe  The USCCB designated Marytown the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe in 2000. Relics of St. Maximilian are on site. The sainted Holocaust victim is the patron of journalists, families, those addicted to drugs, and to those who have eating disorders.

Chicago, Illinois

National Shrine of Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini via Facebook | Fair Use
  • National Shrine of St. Jude  The church was founded in 1929 and is located at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, run by the Claretians, in Chicago. Hundreds of thousands of people come here every year and also send messages of hope and prayer to the saint of the “impossible.”
  • Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica and National Shrine The Servites (Servants of Mary) founded this church in 1874. The church was begun in 1890 and dedicated in 1902. In 1956, Pope Pius XII granted the church the title of Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica and National Shrine.
  • National Shrine of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini The Shrine was built in 1955 to honor the work and sanctity of Mother Cabrini. Mother Cabrini  was canonized a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1946, becoming the first American citizen-saint. She is the Patron Saint of Immigrants and one of the most influential women in Chicago’s history.

Belleville, Illinois

Daniel Thornton | CC BY 2.0
  • National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows  At 200+ acres this is the largest shrine in North America. It is run by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. If you can, allow yourself up to two days to visit the shrine.

West Bend, Iowa

Laura Bernhardt | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • The Grotto of the Redemption This is the largest grotto in the world. It was started in 1912 and has nine separate grottoes that represent the life of Christ and His ongoing work of redemption. The site has the largest collection of fossils, shells, and minerals located in any one spot in the world.

Perryville, Missouri

Association of the Miraculous Medal via Facebook | Fair Use
  • National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal  St. Mary of the Barrens was founded in 1818. The cornerstone for the present church was laid in 1827. The church was consecrated in 1837. In 1929 the Shrine was built in honor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. St. Mary of the Barrens has served as the National Shrine ever since.

St. Charles, Missouri

Via Duchesnes Shrine
  • Shrine of Saint Phillippine Duchesne  Born in France in 1769, this saint served in the French Revolution helping the sick and poor. After becoming a nun of the Society of the Sacred Heart, she came to New Orleans in 1818 and then settled in St. Charles, Missouri, where she opened a school, an orphanage, and a convent.

St. Louis, Missouri

Paul Sableman | CC BY 2.0
  • Shrine of St. Joseph  The Jesuits founded the parish in 1843. Consisting of mostly German immigrants, it became the site for the second miracle that St. Peter Claver needed to become canonized. He was invoked by a dying factory worker, Ignatius Strecker, who had been seriously injured on the job. Ignatius asked Peter Claver to intercede for him. The man was cured and back to work in less than two weeks. The Vatican declared the miracle valid in 1887.

New Orleans, Louisiana

  • International Shrine of St. Jude  This is the oldest surviving church in New Orleans. During the yellow fever epidemic of 1827, the chapel was used as a mortuary. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate have cared for the chapel since 1918. St. Jude devotions began at the chapel in 1935, and thousands upon thousands have and still come here to invoke the “Saint of the Impossible.”
  • National Votive Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor   The National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor is located on the campus of The Ursuline Academy. Established in 1727, it was the first educational institution for women in the United States. The shrine serves God and all God’s people as the center of devotion to the Mother of Jesus under the title of Our Lady of Prompt Succor

Grand Coteau, Louisiana

Cathedral of St. John Berchmans via Facebook | Fair Use
  • National Shrine of St. John Berchmans  John Berchmans was a Jesuit novice who died in the year 1621, at the age of 21. During his short life, his piety and devotion to Jesus and the Blessed Mother became well known. He is the patron saint of altar servers. His intercession for the dying Mary Wilson, in 1866, was declared a miracle as Mary was cured almost instantly. The shrine is the only place in the USA where the exact site of a miracle has been saved as a shrine.
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