May is a month in which we pay special honor to Mary. That makes it a perfect time to learn more about some of the Marian shrines in the United States. In My Queen, My Mother: A Living Novena, Marge Steinhage Fenelon shares her pilgrimage to nine Marian shrines, inviting readers to join her in praying a special novena to consecrate both ourselves and our country to Mary. Fenelon wants us to “uncover the spiritual treasures of our United States” and to “reconquer [our country] for our Lord and his Mother and help others to set out to reconquer it too.”
When we consecrate ourselves or someone else to Mary, we are “asking Mary to claim that person for herself now and for always. Of course, when Mary “claims” someone for herself, she also claims that person for her Son because the two are inseparable. The only reason for Mary’s existence is to lead us to Jesus.”
Fenelon offers a history of each shrine and recalls some of the spiritual blessings that have been given there. One of the shrines that I found most interesting to learn about was the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wisconsin. This is the only Church-approved Marian apparition site in the United States. Mary appeared to 24-year-old Adele Brice in 1859. Mary told Adele to pray for the conversion of sinners and to teach the catechism. Adele ultimately began the Sisters of Good Health and several miracles were recorded as a result of her prayers. As Fenelon points out, the overriding message of this shrine is that “if it is indeed God’s will, then you’ll be given the grace, courage, and know-how to carry out your mission. What’s more, if you invoke Our Lady of Good Help, she’ll see you through it.
I found the stories of these shrines fascinating. The only thing that I wished the book contained were images of the shrines. To help remedy that, I’m including links to the websites for the featured shrines so that you can take a virtual pilgrimage. By no means is this exhaustive list of Marian shrines in the United States. As Fenelon points out, there are many waiting for us to visit, learn about, and pray at.
- Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, St. Augustine, Florida;
- National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, New Orleans, Louisiana;
- St. Mary’s Mission and Museum, Stevensville, Montana;
- Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows, Starkenburg, Missouri;
- Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, Carey, Ohio;
- The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, Champion, Wisconsin;
- Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs, Auriesville, New York;
- House of Mary Shrine, Yankton, South Dakota; and
- Our Lady of Peace Shrine, Santa Clara, California.