Show-Me 5: Missouri Shrines

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Credit: Photo provided by Shrine of St. Joseph

Explore the possibilities and get your shrine-on at these Missouri shrines.

Black Madonna Shrine and Grottos, Pacific – Upon his immigration to the St. Louis area from Poland in 1927, Brother Bronislaus Luszcz wanted to share his faith with the world. He set out to build a monument worthy of Mary, Queen of Peace and Mercy – known as Our Lady of Czestochowa in his native Poland. You can appreciate the artistry of these grottos, which Bronislaus built by hand out of Missouri tiff rock and donated materials, on land still owned and maintained by the Franciscan Missionary Brothers.

National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church, Laurie – Dedicated to mothers from all walks of life, the 14-foot stainless steel sculpture of Mary stands tall over a fountain of water. Memorialize your own mother by purchasing space to have her name engraved on the “Mothers’ Wall of Life,” a polished slab of black granite surrounding the base of the shrine.

National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Perryville – A massive renovation has transformed St. Mary’s of the Barrens into a must-see religious site. The beauty of countless statues has been unveiled with the removal of 30 layers of paint and one hundred years of grime. The restored grotto, paved pathways, water features and freshly repainted murals compliment the shrine with true reverence.

Old St. Ferdinand Shrine, Florissant – Walk amidst history at Old St. Ferdinand, located on one of the oldest settlements in Missouri. Explore the church, convent, rectory, museum, gift shop and school house – all listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The site was designated a shrine in 1988 after Pope John Paul II canonized St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, one of the first female pioneers in Missouri, for her contributions in the 1800s to the church and community.

Shrine of St. Joseph, St. Louis – As the location of the only miracle in the Midwest to be authenticated by the Vatican, many travelers flock to the Shrine of St. Joseph seeking their own phenomenon. Ignatius Strecker was injured at work in 1861 and soon began experiencing debilitating pain. Doctors tried to cure his ailment, but the onset of tuberculosis and decay of his wound only gave him two weeks to live. Strecker turned to the church, was blessed with a relic of Peter Claver and made a miraculous recovery. Soon after, a deadly cholera outbreak struck St. Louis, taking an average of 280 lives a day. Parishioners prayed that they and their families be spared.  In gratitude for everyone surviving the epidemic, parishioners donated funds to build the “Altar of Answered Prayers” inside the church.

The believer and non-believer alike can appreciate a multitude of cultures in the Show-Me State. Marvel at the beauty of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis – said to rival the Sistine Chapel in Italy for the most mosaics in the world – or join in on the celebration during Marian Days in Carthage, the largest North American religious pilgrimage made by Vietnamese Catholics. Find inspiration no matter where your travels take you.