National Shrine of St. Joseph, DePere, Wisconsin
In 1874, a Wisconsin priest named Fr. Durin witnessed the crowning of a statue of St. Joseph at a Norbertine abbey in France. Several years later, he made plans for a solemn crowning of St. Joseph back home. The crowning was the beginning of a shrine to the saint.
When Fr. Durin died in 1896, the diocese had to find someone to take over the shrine. Providentially, a group of Norbertines had arrived from Holland in 1893 to do missionary work and start an educational institution. Upon completion of a 30-day novena to St. Joseph, Norbertine Fr. (later Abbot) Bernard Pennings, founder of the first permanent establishment of the Norbertines in the United States, learned of the possible transfer of the shrine and parish to the Norbertines. And indeed, in 1898, the year his group founded St. Norbert Priory (now St. Norbert Abbey), the Wisconsin Norbertines took over the Shrine of St. Joseph
Abbot Pennings constantly nourished his devotion to St. Joseph, whose intercessory power always inspired him. “Nothing I have received or accomplished in life has come to me without St. Joseph’s help,” he would say.
The shrine is located adjacent to Old St. Joseph Church on the grounds of St. Norbert College.