In a recent post for The National Catholic Register, Father Dwight Longenecker encourages Catholics to go on pilgrimages. “On a pilgrimage, you step outside your comfort zone. You see the world from a fresh perspective.” He encourages. Unfortunately, pilgrimages can be expensive endeavors and not everyone has the resources needed to set out on a European tour or a trip to the Holy Land. Wonderfully, we have many, many sites right here in the United States that are worthy of being visited on pilgrimages. You might have one in your very own hometown. In contemplating Father Longenecker’s article I began to wonder if every state has a shrine or a pilgrimage site. Then I began to wonder if I could narrow the category further to encompass Marian sites alone and that is how this post came about.
I’ve spent several weeks researching Marian shrines within the United States. For a site to be considered a shrine, it typically attracts pilgrims due to it possessing a relic or a sacred image or is a replica of a famous pilgrimage site overseas. For a shrine to be designated a “National Shrine” the USCCB has established rigorous norms which are explained here. I did not find actual shrines for every state. For those states which did not have shrines I researched to find either a historically significant church dedicated to Our Lady or a particularly beautiful church named for Mary. I really wanted to compile a worthy list of Marian pilgrimage locations with the best links available and while my list is not exhaustive in any sense of the word, there is a site for each state and Washington DC.
California–Our Lady of Sorrows Shrine, Colusa
Connecticut–Saint Mary’s Church, New Haven
Maryland–National Shrine Grotto, Emmitsburg
Massachusetts–Our Lady of La Salette, Attleboro
Minnesota–Epiphany Fatima Shrine, Coon Rapids
Mississippi–Saint Mary’s Basilica, Natchez
Nebraska–Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, Arapahoe
New Hampshire–Our Lady of La Salette Shrine, Enfield
New Mexico–Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Santa Fe
North Carolina–Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, Belmont Abbey
North Dakota–Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Fargo
Pennsylvania–Miraculous Medal Shrine, Philadelphia
Rhode Island–Our Lady of the Rosary, Providence
South Carolina–Our Lady of Joyful Hope, Kingstree
South Dakota–House of Mary Shrine, Yanktown
Washington–Our Lady of Lourdes, Spokane
West Virginia–Saint Mary’s Orthodox Church, Morgantown
Have you visited any of the sites listed above? Is there a particular Marian themed pilgrimage not listed which you have visited and could tell us about? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.