Friday, June 3, 2011

A Pilgrimage

Tuesday I went on a pilgrimage with my Parish family
to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
No, not in Mexico.
Subtract the drug cartels and add a whole lot of cheese!
Just a few short years ago Archbishop Burke,
when he was in the Diocese of LaCrosse, WI
felt the calling to build a Marian Shrine in his Diocese.
Originally the Shrine was going to be to Our Lady of Fatima,
but years went by without any movement.
Then Archbishop Burke heard Blessed Pope John Paul II in Mexico
saying that Our Lady of Guadalupe was not just for that country,
but for all the Americas.
He then knew just what Shrine we needed here in North America.
All of a sudden, things began to happen.
Someone donated 93 acres in LaCrosse, WI to the Diocese,
unknowing about the Archbishop Burke's plans.
Over the next few years money came flooding in for the building of this Shrine,
given credence to the will of God,
and despite the opposition he was facing in his own Diocese
for the building of this beautiful sanctuary-
you know the classic money could have been given to the poor (see John 12).
In 2004 the construction began, and was completed in 2008.
It was simply Heavenly and stunning, hidden amidst the rolling hills.
Archbishop Burke
in front of the Church

At the base of the hill is the visitor center, gift shop, and restaurant.
The Church is about a 15 minute walk up hill.
It is a delightful walk, bringing to light that we were on a pilgrimage.
The path was paved and not too steep,
all the way surrounded by the breathtaking woods and hill.
On the journey up to the Church you come across a few statues.

Blessed Kateri
St. Joseph the Worker
Also on the journey up is a candle chapel,
where you can make a donation to have a candle lit,
and people pray for your intention.
Upon walking in, I was in awe.
The chapel glowed blue and was simply resplendent.
The glistening stained glass depicted the Blessed Mother at various apparitions.
My candle is to the right. :)

Our Lady of Fatima
It is hard to do it justice in pictures.

Finally, just when your calf muscles are really starting to hurt, (especially when you are pushing a stroller) there it is.
Nice on the outside, but even more amazing on the inside!
So traditional I love it!
The angels flanking the altar up top were awesome.
Right away I got to go to confession.
The confessional always has a priest in it while pilgrims are there.
And a good soul cleansing was just what I needed!
Mass followed, and it just happened to be the Feast of the Visitation.
One thing that really stuck out about the Church, was the acoustics.
As a musician, oh man, I would give anything to be alone in that Church,
just my voice and guitar.  
When we sang, you could hear the angels singing along.

On either side of the Church were gorgeous paintings of various Saints,
along with a first class relic!
There was also a kneeler and candles for you to say a prayer and pay your respects.

The painting of Blessed Miguel Pro
"Viva Cristo Rey!"

My favorite was probably this painting of St. Maria Goretti. There were also paintings and relics of St. Faustina, St Gianna Mola, and St. Terese of Liseux, and St. Peregrine.
Dominic was so fascinated by the relics
and kept going over to look and them.
So was I.
We heard stories from our tour guide and a nun about the many miracles that have happened from people coming to the Shrine and asking for these Saints' intercession.
St. Gianna Mola especially (more to come on that).

After spending ample time in the Church,
we hiked outside to the Stations of the Cross and the Rosary.
There were 4 of these sculptures, one for each set of mysteries.

The Shrine to the unborn was also stunning.
Many people don't know that in the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Mary is with-child.
We know this because of the sash she is wearing around her waist.
This is why Blessed John Paul II declared her to be
patroness of families and the unborn.
This is also why this shrine is so needed in our country today as families and the unborn are dying in droves, by the choices we make.

This pilgrimage was something I greatly needed
and was well worth the four hour bus ride; even with a very active 14 month old!
I received such graces and I know my family will be blessed because of it.
I am already looking forward to our pilgrimage this fall!
Where was your last pilgrimage?

Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Mystical Rose,
make intercession for the holy Church,
protect the Sovereign Pontiff,
help all those who invoke thee in their necessities,
and since thou art the ever Virgin Mary
and Mother of the true God,
obtain for us from thy most holy Son
the grace of keeping our faith,
sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life,
burning charity
and the precious gift of final perseverance.
Amen. (Pope Pius X)


  1. Sounds like such a lovely place. And I love the pic of you two at the end!

  2. I ran across your blog while perusing pictures of all things Catholic on pinterest. My wife loves Pinterest, but I have only recently began using it to find beautiful pictures of Cathedrals and Crucifixes. Thank you for your devotion to our Lord and His Holy Catholic Church. Your blog encouraged a fellow pilgrim on his way home. I only recently began to nurture my devotion to our Blessed Mother so I really enjoyed reading about your adventure! Can I ask you to pray for my wife if the Lord brings her to your mind? Her name is Alesha and she is struggling with finding her place and her heart within the Church. She grew up Protestant, but became Catholic mostly for me. She is a strong Christian woman but is struggling to find her place. Thank you so much again for your blog. :)

  3. Hello Dacia, I came from Pinterest too, I'm from Mexico and I think that you should visit our gorgeous basilic, it's an awesome feeling to be postrated to the feet of our Lady of Guadalupe, she is here in person, and when you are in her house you can feel her presence, it's magical. Don't be worry about the drug cartels, Mexico is a very blessed ground, it's beatiful just as much as the people here! It was great to found your blog and realize how big can be the faith to our mother in others countries, I specially like it the image of Miguel Agustin Pro and Saint Mary Goretti. If you decide to come, you can feel free to contact me, I'd love to take you and maybe in that way you can feel it safe. Finally my apologies for my english, I'm still learning!

    Luz Hernandez