There are amazing pilgrimage sites in the United States. Sites of miracles, where Saints prayed, where they lived, died, where they are entombed; places where relics are permanently on display for public veneration and even a site of an approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There is so much of our Catholic faith and history in the United States and we created this list to help you discover it.
Before visiting a pilgrimage site, please check their website and consider calling to confirm important details such as hours and days they are open, dress code, etc. We are constantly updating the site with new locations, so please check back often. If you have a location for us to add please email us at CatholicPilgrim@hotmail.com.
Ave Maria Grotto , Cullman, AL
Alabama’s first and only Benedictine Abbey is home to the Ave Maria Grotto. It was built by Benedictine Monk, Brother Joseph Zoettl O.S.B. beginning in 1934 and consists of 4 acres of over 125 miniature reproductions of historical building, shrines, and places such as Lourdes and St. Peter’s Basilica. The Benedictine Abbey produces a variety of candles that are available for sale. There is a small entry fee for the grotto, please check the website for details.
Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville, AL
In 1995 Mother Angelica traveled to Columbia on business for EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network). She visited the Sanctuary of the Divine Infant Jesus to attend mass and she prayed at the small Shrine which housed the miraculous statue of the Child Jesus. As Mother Angelica stood praying at the side of the statue the miraculous image suddenly came alive and turned towards her. “Then the Child Jesus spoke with the voice of a young boy: “Build Me a Temple and I will help those who help you.” Thus began a great adventure that would eventually result in the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, a Temple dedicated to the Divine Child Jesus, a place of refuge for all.” There is also a permanent exhibit of two actual sized (8″x4″) color positives and two black and white negatives of the Shroud of Turin.
Shrine of St. Thesese, Juneau AK
The shrine, which has a chapel and retreat house, was built in the 1930’s and overlooks Lynn Canal. In addition to outdoor stations of the cross, you will find Good Shepherd Rosary & Grotto trail which is wheelchair accessible and the Shrine of Merciful Love Labyrinth which is laid out similar to the labyrinth of Chartres, France.
Basilica of San Carlos Borromeo, Carmel, CA
Founded by Padre Junipero Serra in 1771 the Mission of San Carlos Borromeo was elevated to the status of minor Basilica by Pope John XXIII in 1960. It is a registered National Historic Landmark and one of the few Basilicas in the Western United States. There are 5 museums located there, one of which is the cell where Padre Serra lived at the mission and where he passed away in 1784.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, CA
A piece of the tilma of St. Juan Diego, believed to be the only one in the United States, is permanently enshrined at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, California. Also called the “Tilma of Tepyac,” it is a small piece of the cloth that holds the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In 1941 the relic was taken from the tilma and given to the Archbishop of Los Angeles by the Archbishop of Mexico City. The massive Cathedral also has a display of Papal relics and 25 fresco-like tapestries depict 135 Saints and Blesseds as well as several side chapels and many pieces of art.
California Missions Trail, San Diego to Sonoma, CA
There are 21 missions that make up the California Historic Missions Trail that stretches from San Diego to Sonoma. The first mission was built in 1769 and the last mission was built in 1823. Most of the missions are still active Catholic parishes and have regularly scheduled services.
The missions include San Diego de Alcala, San Luis Rey de Francia, San Juan Capistrano, San Gabriel Arcangel, San Buenaventura, San Fernando Rey de Espana, Santa Barbara, Santa Ines, La Purisima Conception, San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, San Miguel Arcangel, San Antonia de Padua, Nuestra Senora de la Soledad, San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, San Juan Bautista, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara de Asis, San Jose, San Francisco de Asis Mission Dolores, San Rafael Arcangel and San Francisco Solano.
Saint Francis Parish, which later became the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, was formally established in 1850 predating the the establishment of the city of San Francisco and the statehood of California. The current building was rebuilt and rededicated in 1919 after extensive damage to the previous church as a result of an earthquake and fire in 1906. There are extensive murals hand painted by Italian artists and stained glass windows throughout the Shrine. One of the highlights of the Shrines is La Porziuncola Nuova, a scaled replica of St. Francis’s Porziuncola in Assis, Italy, the Benedictine Chapel he restored when God told him, “rebuild my church.” The National Shrine and Porziuncola was made a Holy Site by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008. Pilgrims can obtain a plenary indulgence under the normal conditions for visits to the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4 (the solemnity of St. Francis of Assisi, principal co-patron of the Archdiocese of San Francisco) and visits to the Shrine of the Porziuncola, Our Lady of the Angels on August 2nd each year (within the Porziuncola itself), and once a year on a day chosen by the Christian faithful and as often as they assist in a group pilgrimage visiting The National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi or the Shrine of Porziuncola. Take a virtual tour of the church here and of the Porziuncola here
The Old Mission San Buenaventura, Ventura, CA
The San Buenaventura Mission was founded by St. Junipero Serra in the late 1700’s, the last of 9 missions and one of the six that he personally dedicated. The museum with displays of Chumash Indian artifacts and mission-era items. In the Church Baptistry there are several relics on display for permanent veneration including a piece of the True Cross, a 3rd class relic of St. Joseph, St. Vincent de Paul, St. John Neumann, St. Bonaventure, St. Jude Thaddeus, St. Catherine Laboure, and St. Junipero Serra. There is a small fee for entry into the Mission.
Mother Cabrini Shrine Golden, CO
The property the Shrine sits on was originally a summer camp for the girls from Queen of Heaven Orphanage and was purchased by Mother Cabrini herself in 1909. It became a Shrine in 1946 after her Canonization and has a museum that features a replica of Mother Cabrini’s bedroom and artifacts from her life. Outside at the top of the mountain is a 22 foot statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on an 11 foot base above the “Heart of Stones,” an arrangement of white stones in the “shape of a heart surmounted by a cross” laid out by Mother Cabrini during her last visit to Golden, CO in 1912 when she was taking a group of sisters and some of the children from the orphanage to the highest hill. It is now preserved beneath glass at the top of 373 steps that follows the path that Mother Cabrini, the Sisters, and the children took to the top of the mountain. There is a Stations of the Cross along the path with benches for pilgrims to stop and pray. There is a spring that many pilgrims have claimed to have brought them healing. In the early 1900’s it was a long trek up and down the canyon to get water. The Sisters were complaining and Mother Cabrini told them to “lift that rock over there and start to dig. You will find water fresh enough to drink and clean enough to wash.” Since that time, the spring has never stopped running. There is also a Rosary Garden and the Cabrini Garden which depicts the life of Mother Cabrini and features a statue of her guiding two young orphans.
Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, CT
Permanent exhibits include the Venerable Father Michael McGivney Gallery that profiles the life of the founder of the Knights of Columbus and a reliquary containing second class relics that were obtained when his remains were exhumed in 1981; the Papal Gallery which contains artifacts, artwork, papal medals and photographs from the interactions of the Knights with the Vatican dating back to the late 1800’s; and a Christopher Columbus Gallery that have items like the glazed tiles he brought to America in 1493 that were used in the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. There are also displays and artifacts about the history of the Knights of Columbus. Check the website for information about temporary exhibits such as the popular annual exhibition of Creches from around the world. You can take a virtual tour here.
St. Mary’s Church, New Haven, CT
In 1882, Venerable Father Michael McGivney, then a priest at St. Mary’s, founded the Knights of Columbus. What started as an initiative to grow the faith of the men at the Parish grew to be “the largest Catholic fraternal benefit society in the world.” He was declared Venerable in 2008 and his remains were re-entombed at St. Mary’s in 1982 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Knights of Columbus. Pilgrims can visit his tomb as well as the Shrine of the Infant of Prague.
Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, Stamford, CT
The Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, known as “The Mother Church of Stamford,” was consecrated in 1886 and was the largest in Connecticut at that time. In 2009 St. John’s was elevated to a Minor Basilica by Pope Benedict XVI. The Church has many original items from the 1800’s including the gothic High Altar of marble and onyx, stained glass windows, and art. There are also over 400 relics on permanent display in the side chapel dedicated to Our Lady including those of the Apostles and relics of the True Cross and Our Lord’s resurrection. More than 370 of the saint’s relics are first class relics. The Basilica is very friendly to pilgrims and they offer free tours, special pilgrimage Masses, Confessions, or devotions with the priest. Pilgrimage groups are welcome and should contact the Basilica in advance to make arrangements. Pilgrims can receive a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions by visiting the Basilica on these designated days: Feb 22 – the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, May 31 – the anniversary of the dedicate of the Basilica in 1886, June 29 – the Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul, July 16 – The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and one day each year freely chosen by a member of the faithful visiting the Basilica.
St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church, Orlando, FL
Venerate St Charbel relic every 22nd of the month St jude maronite church Orlando
The Maronite church is an Eastern Rite church in communion with the Holy See that celebrates Mass according to the ancient tradition started by their founder, St. Maron in the 5th century. A relic of St. Charbel is available for veneration at the Church the 22nd of every month from 9am to 5pm.
Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church, Sarasota, FL
The church has a relic of Padre Pio on permanent display and available for veneration to the public. The relic is a drop of blood that fell on the altar in the shape of a hear from Padre Pio’s stigmata when he was celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in 1956. When you enter the church there is a prayer room on the right hand side with statues and candles. The relic is located on the left wall as you enter, almost behind the door, and is to the left of the crucifix in a niche in the wall. There is also several statues and areas to reflect and pray inside and outside the church.
Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, St. Augustine, FL
This is the oldest church in Florida, originally established in 1565 as a part of the colony established by Spain. St. Augustine is the first colony in what is now the United States that was founded and has been continuously occupied. There is a large statue of Our Lady of La Leche in front of the choir loft, several side altars, statues and murals. Guided tours are offered (see their website for more information) and provides details like showing you the line between the old church and the expansion of the church in the late 1800’s. Take a virtual tour here.
Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, St. Augustine, FL
Founded in 1565, Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, the nursing Madonna, was the first Mission and the site of the first Mass in America. Located at the shrine is the Mission of Los Nombres de Dios, a 208 foot cross, a museum, the Prince of Peace church, outdoor stations of the cross, and a cemetery. The devotion to Mary as Our Lady of La Leche, patroness of Mothers and Mothers-to-be was brought from Spain in 1603. The intercession of Our Lady of La Leche is often sought by those looking to conceive and have a successful delivery.
Mary Help of Christians, Tampa, FL
Located on several acres of land not far from downtown Tampa, the Mary Help of Christians center used to be an Oratory and is now a private Catholic High School, Parish, and retreat center. In the back of the church is a room with approximately 200 relics that are available for veneration anytime the church is open, including a relic of the True Cross. There is also a full size replica of the Shroud of Turin on one of the walls of the room that you can turn on a light behind it with a wall switch and several side altars in the church. One of the focal points is a large mural behind a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Infant Jesus behind the main Altar. On the property there is an outdoor Altar, outdoor Stations of the Cross and many statues.
St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, Grovetown, GA There is a first class relic of St. Faustina in a reliquary on the wall next to the image of The Divine Mercy for public veneration when the church is open.
Our Lady of Peace Cathedral, Honolulu, HI
Our Lady of Peace Cathedral was built in 1843 is the oldest Catholic Church in Hawaii. It is also the location of Saint Damien de Veuster’s ordination to the priesthood in 1864 and home to relics of Saint Mother Marianne Cope who both brought great aid to those with leprosy.
Assumption Catholic Church,Chicago, IL
There are statues of St. Peregrine kneeling as though he is seeking intercession before Jesus on the cross with the Blessed Virgin Mary by his side all taking place before a relic of St. Peregrine, patron saint of cancer patients, in a cross shaped reliquary. There is a kneeler there so that you can spend time in prayer and venerating the relic. On Mondays they have a 10 minute service in honor of St. Peregrine after the 12:10 mass that includes prayer, petitions, litany, and a blessing with the relic of the saint.
Claretian National Shrine of St. Jude, Chicago, IL
The Claretian National Shrine of St. Jude was established in 1929 by Clareitan Missionary Fathers and was the first major shrine to the apostle and cousin of Jesus. There is a relic of St. Jude available for veneration at the altar of St. Jude. You can take an “e-pilgrimage” of the shrine here.
Dominican National Shrine of St. Jude, Chicago, IL
The Dominican National Shrine of St. Jude was opened in 1929 within St. Pius V Parish and is home to the arm of St. Jude, reported the largest relic of an apostle outside of Rome as well as three smaller relics of the Saint.
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Chicago, IL
The 200 acre outdoor shrine in the largest in the country. It has an amphitheater, several gardens, an outdoor way of the cross, a rosary court and a relic chapel that houses 1500 relics.
National Shrine of St. Frances Cabrini, Chicago, IL
St. Frances Cabrini, known as “Mother Cabrini” was the first American Citizen Saint and founded 67 institutions of care in the United States, including several in Chicago, and is the Universal Patron Saint of Immigrants. Several galleries tell the story of the life of Mother Cabrini in Chicago including her early life and missions and her death, Beatification, and Canonization There is a replica of the room in which she died and artifacts for pilgrims to view such as her habit, her 1904 address book, and the wicker rocking chair in which she died. Stained glass windows from Italy depict the Mysteries of the Rosary, the four Evangelists, Saints, Popes and the Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation and the 4 miracles for the Beatification and Canonization of Mother Cabrini. There are also frescoes painted by an artist from Rome, of which four of the large panels depict her life. There is a large relic from Mother Cabrini’s arm at the base of the altar which can be seen from both sides and relics of over 60 Saints in cases located in two of the side chapels.
Queen of All Saints Basilica, Chicago, IL
There are over 150 first and second class relics that are kept at the Basilica. Among the relics are those of famous and lesser known saints, the 12 apostles, the true cross, the rock of Gethsemane, the Last Supper table, and other holy sites. Take a virtual tour of the Basilica here.
St. Hyacinth Basilica (Bazylika Sw. Jacka), Chicago, IL
St. Hyacinth Basilica has relics of over 60 Saints for public veneration including Padre Pio, St. John Neumann, St. Peregrine, Pope St. John Paul II, St. Eliabeth of Hungary, St. Jude, St. Gerard, St. John the Baptist, St. Valentine, St. Therese, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Faustina, St. Hyacinth, St. Maria Goretti, and St. Bernadette. Pilgrims can visit the Pieta Chapel and the Our Lady of Czestochowa Chapel that features the icon of Our Lady with actual gold crowns as well as memorabilia of Pope St. John Paul II. Outside in the Memorial Garden is a 17 foot bronze statue of the former Pope. The front doors are often locked during the day but the side doors are open during church hours.
St. John Cantius Roman Catholic Church, Chicago, IL
St. John Catius is an 118 year old baroque style church built by Polish immigrants. One of the focal points of the church is “Our Lady of Chicago,” an icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa (also known as the “Black Madonna”) that was brought from Poland to Chicago in the early twentieth century. In 1997 parishoners donated jewelry and gold to make new crowns for Mary and the Infant Jesus that were later Blessed by John Paul II. The church has 50 foot high painted ceilings, stained glass windows and equisite murals and statues. There are several cases of Saints’ relics on display for public veneration, including a relic and an effigy of St. Philomena. They also have a first class relic of Padre Pio, a large square of linen with a bloodstain from the wound in Padre Pio’s side that they bring out on special occasions. The church was recently named the most beautiful church in the United States! In addition to the physical beauty of the church, they offer the Traditional Latin Mass as well as the English Mass and the bothers and priests chant 3 times a day.
St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel, St. Rita of Cascia Catholic High School, Chicago, IL
The Shrine tells the story of the life of St. Rita through a series of hanging banners that visually convey the key aspects of her life. Pilgrims are given the opportunity to venerate the relics of the Saint which are housed in a reliquary that dates back to 1906. The statue of St. Rita is from 1909 and is one of the first to have glass eyes, making the statue more lifelike. There are also 9 side altars dedicated to St. Patrick, St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, Pope John Paul II and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, St. Monica, St. Martin de Porres, Our Mother of Good Counsel, and Our Lady Of Czestochowa. This Chapel is located at a high school. Please make sure to call ahead to find out when the Chapel is open to the public and any requirements for being on school property.
National Shrine of St. Therese, Darien, IL
The shrine includes a chapel and a museum that has the largest collection of St. Therese relics and memorabilia outside of Lisieux, France. The collection includes relics, an original oil painting of her done by her sister Celine, the original statue commissioned by St. Therese in the 1920’s, manuscripts she wrote, as well as items from her childhood and throughout her life.
National Shrine of St Maximilian Kolbe,Libertyville, IL
Marytown was designated The National Shrine of St Maximilian Kolbe during the Jubilee Year in 2000. Pilgrims have the opportunity to visit the St. Kolbe/ Holocaust exhibit and to venerate the relics of the Saint. There are also 9 outdoor Shrines amid the 14 acres. Pilgrimages are by appointment only. The Shrine also has the longest running adoration apostolate in the Archdiocese of Chicago and is open to the public 24/7, seven days a week. You can take a virtual tour here.
Shrine of All Saints at St. Martha of Bethany Church, Morton Grove, IL
The Shrine of All Saints is a newly designated shrine within the St. Martha of Bethany Church and houses over 1500 relics for public veneration. Some of the Saint relics include Zelie Martin (Mother of St. Therese of Lisieux), several Popes, St. Bernadette Soubirous, St. Boniface, St. Catherine Laboure, St. Elizabeth, (Mother of John the Baptist), St. Faustina, St. Francis Assisi, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Blessed Jacinta Marto, St. Juan Diego, St. Kateri, St. Maria Goretti, and many more well and lesser known Saints and Martyrs. You can find a complete list of Saints relics at the shrine here. Guided tours may be available upon request.
The Basilica is the mother church of the Congregation of Holy Cross in the United States where “Holy Cross religious profess final vows, that seminarians are ordained priests and where deceased religious are commended to God.” There are 6 Chapels, including the Reliquary Chapel that contains relics of many saints, a large wooden Cross containing a relic of the True Cross, a wax figure of St. Severa with boxes at her head and feet that contain her relics and the Cardinal O’Hara Chapel where the body of John Cardinal O’Hara is entombed. There is art throughout the church, including 56 murals, a statue of Blessed Basil Moreau that contains his relic, a Lourdes grotto, and the Bishops Museum contains items from various American Bishops dating from the 1900’s. Take the virtual tour of the church, it’s side chapels and the museum here.
Shrine of St. Mother Theodore Guerin, St. Mary-of-the-Woods, IN
The Shrine of St. Mother Theodore Guerin, opened in October 2014, is the final resting place of the the foundress of the Sisters of Providence and the 8th canonized Saint from the United States. Some of her remains are located in the Interim Shrine of St. Mother Theodore Guerin in the Church of the Immaculate Conception. The Shrine tells the story of her life and has a room that depicts her time in France, a room depicting her voyage to the United States in 1840 and exhibits of her life and the order she founded. Pilgrims can see her writing desk, chapel, prayer book as well as venerate her relics. Outside is a replica of the log chapel that Mother Theodore had built to honor St. Anne in thanksgiving for their safe crossing of the Atlantic, a plaque marking where she first arrived at St. Mary-of-the-Woods and a cemetery where some of her remains are still interred. There are numerous shrines throughout including one to St. Joseph, whose statue is 125 years old.
The Grotto of the Redemption, West Bend,IA
The largest grotto in the world was built by Father Paul Dobberstein as a result of a promise he made to Mary while he was critically ill with pneumonia to build a shrine for her if he lived. Beginning in 1912, Father Dobberstein labored for 42 years to build the 9 grottos that cover a full square block. Go on a virtual tour here.
St. Mary’s Academy Relic Chapel ,St. Mary, KS
Hundreds of relics are open for public veneration at the Relic Chapel at St. Mary’s Academy. They include pieces from the crown of thorns, the holy cross, the table of the Last Supper, the rock of agony and the holy manager as well as relics of the Apostles and more than 400 saints.
National Seelos Shrine & Seelos Center, New Orleans, LA
Father Seelos chose to come to New Orleans at a time that the city was plagued with yellow fever, knowing that by taking the assignment he would likely die. The National Seelos Shrine is the final resting place of Father Seelos. It has a museum where you can learn about his life, his missionary work, and the miracles that have been attributed to him. There are also artifacts from Blessed Father Seelos’ life, historical markers and statues, and the opportunity to venerate his relics and those of several other Saints.
National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, New Orleans, LA
The Shrine, dedicated to the Patroness of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana, was consecrated in 1928 and is located on the campus of Ursuline Academy. In 1803 an Ursuline nun prayed to the Virgin Mary and told her she would obtain a prompt and favorable response to her intercessory prayer that the nun would have the Blessed Mother honored in New Orleans under the title of Our Lady of Prompt Succor. The nun’s prayers were granted and so began the devtion of the Blessed Mother under this title. Please note that the Shrine is only open for a very brief period before and after Mass on the weekends so please check the websites for the Shrine hours before going.
Shrine of St. John Berchmans, Grand Coteau, LA
In 1866, through the intercession of St. John Berchmans, a young novice of the Society of the Sarcred Heart, Mary Wilson was miraculously healed. St. John Berchmans appeared to Mary on her deathbed after her prayer for intercession and told her he came by the order of God. The infirmary where the miracle took place was converted to a shrine and is the only place in the United States where the exact spot of a miracle and apparition has been preserved as a shrine. You can see the small museum on the grounds of the Academy of the Sacred Heart dedicated to St. John Berchmans by appointment only.
Archdiocesan Shrine of Divine Mercy, Holy Rosary Church, Baltimore, MD
The Archdiocesan Shrine of Divine Mercy gives pilgrims the opportunity to venerate the first class relics of Pope St. John Paul II, St. Faustina, and Blessed Michael Sopocko including one relic of St. Faustina built into the armrest of a kneeler that can be touched. The other reliquaries are encased in glass but you can ask the Priest to hold them. The Church also has statues from Spain, Venetian mosaics, frescos, murals, paintings and stained glass windows.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Baltimore, MD
The Baltimore Basilica opened in 1821 and is the first and oldest Catholic Church in the United States. It is considered the Mother of Catholicism in America. In addition to being a church, the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a minor Basilica and Marian Shrine. While visiting the church you can also visit the Pope John Paul II Prayer Garden as well as the museum that houses hundreds of artifacts and antiques that go as far back as the 17th century including vestments of Cardinal Gibbons, letters between numerous presidents and archbishops, altar vessels and other artifacts.
National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Ligori, Baltimore, MD
The Shrine is a historic church pattered after St. Stephen’s in Vienna and is known as the church “where saints have prayed.” One of the previous rectors, John Neumann has been canonized as a Saint and and Francis X. Seelos have been beatified. When Father Seelos is canonized the Shrine will have the rare distinction of having two former rectors declared Saints in the United States and perhaps the world. If that weren’t enough, Blessed George Matulaitis and Archbishop Teofilius Matulionis, a possible candidate for beatification, have both visited and prayed at the Shrine. There is a room with approximately 30 relics on display for public veneration and there is a blessing with the relic of St. Peregrine and the opportunity to venerate his relic on Thursdays after the 12:10 Mass. You can take a video tour here. You can read prayers found in St. John Neumann’s diary here.
Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City, MD
There is a relic of St. Anthony available for veneration year round in the St. Anthony Chapel. The relic was obtained in 1995 when his tomb was opened in anticipation of his 800th birthday. The relic is “ex cute,” dried skin or tissue. The Shrine sits on 310 acres and has a Lourdes Grotto, an outdoor shrine to St. Maximilian Kolbe, and hiking and meditation trails.
National Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton, Emmitsburg, MD
Mother Seton founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, “the first new community for religious women to be established in the United States” Grounds include the Basilica of the National Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton, the Stone House that was her first permanent home, the old cemetery where she was originally buried, the Altar of Relics, and the Seton Legacy Garden. You can take a virtual tour here.
Shrine of St. John Vianney, St. Mary Catholic Church, Newport, MD
America’s first shrine to St. John Vianney was established in August 1931 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. It was rededicated in 2014 and has a 4 foot statue of St. Vianney and a first class relic of a sliver of bone in a reliquary that was made in the 1800’s. Many miracles have been reported and in fact, a 1934 front page article of The Washington Times reported that the number of verified physical cures at the shrine was over 100. Outside pilgrims can also take a walk through the cemetery which includes the Stations of the cross and visit the St. Francis of Assisi Garden.
Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (The Mission Church), Boston,MA
The Basilica was constructed in 1871 in response to the commission by Pope Pius IX to the Redemptorists in 1854 to spread devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. In 1954 Pope Pius XII named the church a basilica. A picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is the heart of the shrine and beneath it are crutches, canes, and casts of those that have been healed. There are many documented cures, the first of which was a crippled girl that was healed on August 18, 1883. She was making a novena and suddenly handed her crutches to her brother, thanked the Lord, and walked out of the church.
Our Lady of the Airways Chapel, Boston, MA
The chapel is located at Logan International Airport and was inspired by Richard Cardinal Cushing in 1952. The pillar of the altar bears the inscription of a prayer that is still prayed by people throughout the world, “We fly to your patronage, O Holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessity but deliver us always from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.”
St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine, Boston, MA
St. Clements has been a Eucharistic Shrine since 1945 and in 2009 made Eucharistic adoration available 24/7. The church itself is a stone Gothic structure with detached towers and stained glass windows. Angels, copied from Fra Angelico, flank each side of the exposition throne in the reredos against the back wall of the sanctuary.
National Shrine of Divine Mercy, Stockton, MA
The 350 acre shrine offers many statues, candle shrines and groves dedicated to the saints. The shrine itself has 36 stained glass windows, stations of the cross imported from Spain, and above the altar is the image of Divine Mercy. To each side of the image are statues of the Apostles that were hand carved in Italy and there is a side chapel dedicated to Saint Faustina. You can take a virtual tour here.
The National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods is home to Our Lady of the Highways, patroness of the pilgrims and travelers that visit the Shrine. The statue is located on the lower grounds of the Shrine (it previously in the front yard near the highway). There are also Shrines to St. Peregrine, St. Kateri, The Holy Family, St. Francis of Assisi and a memorial to Father Michael McGivney. One of the focal points of the Shrine is a 55 foot, 7 ton crucifix.
Our Lady of the Woods Shrine, Mio MI
Our Lady of the Woods Catholic Shrine Grotto is a huge stone structure that contains various grottoes and niches. At the base of it is the Holy Family Shrine, “to symbolize the fact that the family is the basic unit of all society,” which contains statues of the Holy Family and Canada’s Patron Saint, St. Anne de Beaupre. Relics of St. Anne, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua are located within the Holy Family Shrine
St Peregrine Shrine, Collegeville, MN
The Shrine of St. Peregrine is home to the complete skeletal remains of St. Peregrine, boy martyr, dressed in Medieval attire and enshrined in a glass coffin under the altar. Located in the Reliquary Chapel in the lower church of St. John’s Abbey Church, there are niches in the stone walls throughout the room that house relics of other saints. If the niches are empty, relics can be viewed upon request. St. Peregrine was martyred in 192 after imprisonment and torture for their holy fervor and is not to be confused with St. Peregrine Laziosi (1265-1345) who is the patron saint of cancer patients.
National Shrine of St. Odilia, Onamia, MN
A major relic of St. Odilia was given to the Crosier community in 1952 and is permanently housed in a reliquary in the Priory Chapel. There is a Healing Mass held every year on the Sunday closest to St. Odilia’s feast day (July 18) as well as during Advent and Lent during which personal blessings with the relics of St. Odilia are offered. “St. Odilia has promised her intercession on behalf of the Crosiers and all those who invoke her aid. For centuries it has been the practice of the Crosiers to bless water in honor of St. Odilia, dipping her relic in it and asking God to give it “power against all diseases and bodily infirmities.” Many people have reported to have been cured through her intercession.
Cathedral of St. Paul National Shrine of the Apostle Paul, St. Paul, MN
“In 2012, the Vatican established a “bond of spiritual affinity” between the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome and the Cathedral of Saint Paul. This means that anyone making a pilgrimage here can enjoy all the spiritual benefits as if they were able to pray at the tomb of the Apostle Paul in Rome. As a sign of this spiritual closeness, the Cathedral has received the gift of a stone taken from the ancient wall surrounding the tomb of Saint Paul.” The Shrine also has a replica of the Pieta, many side chapels, murals, stained glass windows and art. Guided tours are offered at select days and times. Take a virtual tour here.
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Perryville, MO
The Shrine, built in 1929 by Promoters of the Association of the Miraculous Medal, is located at Saint Mary of the Barrens which was founded by the Vincentian fathers. The altar of the Shrine is dedicated to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and is located under a high domed ceiling with painted murals. A relic of St. Catherine Labouré is available for veneration every Monday night before and after the Miraculous Medal novena. Outside is a cemetery and a grotto of Our Lady of the Miraculous medal built by seminarians during World War I. You can take a virtual tour here.
Shrine of St. Joseph, St. Louis, MO
The Shrine of St. Joseph is the only church in St. Louis where an authenticated miracle has taken place. A dying man was healed after being blessed with and kissing a relic of St. Peter Claver. This miracle was one of the two miracles that led to the Saint’s canonization. It is also home to the “Altar of Answered Prayers,” which was installed in the church in 1867 by parishoners who prayed for St. Joseph to spare their parish from the cholera epidemic that was plaguing the city at the time. The parishoners were spared and they collected enough money to commission a replica of the Altar of St. Ignatius at the Jesuit Gesu Church in Rome. On the First Friday of each month there is a noon Mass with veneration of the relic of St. Peter Claver or St. Padre Pio afterwards.
Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
The Cathedral Basilica is reknown for having one of the largest mosaic collections in the Western Hemisphere. The mosaics were completed in 1988 and in total contain more than 41.5 million glass pieces in more than 7000 colors and covering more than 83k square feet. The mosaics depict various scenes and passages from the Old and New Testament of the Bible, Archdiocesan events and the Narthex depicts the life of King Louis IX of France. There is a chapel dedicated to the souls of former leaders of the Archdiocese and several Cardinals are buried in the crypt of the Cathedral. There is a life size replica of the Pieta, several side chapels and a mosaic museum (small fee) in the basement. Call ahead to reserve a free guided tour.
St. Mary of Victories Catholic Church, St. Louis, MO
Founded in 1843, St. Mary of Victories Catholic Church has a rich German and Hungarian heritage and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Within the High and side Altars are over 280 relics in reliquaries and displayed in the statuary or paintings for public veneration. Relics include a piece of the True Cross and other relics of Christ’s passion such as a thorn from His crown, a particle from the sponge that was lifted to His face during His Crucifixion, a small part of the pillar where He was scourged, and a particle of the stone taken from the Holy Sepulcher. Relics of Saints include all the Apostle, a fragment of the veil worn by the Blessed Virgin Mary , pieces of the mantels of St. Joseph, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Agnes,St. Margaret, and Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos who made his Missouri preaching debut in Missouri at St. Mary of Victories over 150 years ago. The Church also has the original altar and many statues, frescoes, and paintings from the 1800’s incuding an ornate statue of Our Lady of Victories cast in 1844.
El Santuario De Chimayo, Chimayo, NM
The compound contains the El Santuario de Chimayo, “the tiny shrine that is built on the site of what many believe to be a miracle associated with the crucifix of “Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas” (Our Lord of Esquipulas)” and “el pocito” the small pit of Holy Dirt which has been described as the “Lourdes” of the United States. Crutches line the walls left by people who have been cured.
Loretto Chapel , Santa Fe, NM
When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878 the Sisters of the Chapel completed a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters to help them find a solution to their problem. Although construction of the chapel was completed there was no way to access the choir loft 22 feet from the ground. Local carpenters had been called in but all had determined that a ladder would have to be used as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel. On the last day of the novena a man appeared with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later the staircase was completed and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. “The stairway confounds architects, engineers and master craftsmen. It makes over two complete 360-degree turns, stands 20’ tall and has no center support. It rests solely on its base and against the choir loft. The risers of the 33 steps are all of the same height. Made of an apparently extinct wood species, it was constructed with only square wooden pegs without glue or nails.” Some have concluded that the staircase was made by St. Joseph himself in answer to the Sisters’ prayers.
Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs, Auriesville,NY
In the 1640’s Renee Goupil, Fr. Isaac Jogues, and John LaLande were martyred by the Mohawk Indians. In 1885, Father Joseph Loyzance S.J., purchased the location of the Mohwak village of Osserneon, the site of their martyrdom and the birthplace of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and built a simple chapel on the hill. The martyrs were canonized in 1930 and were the first canonized saints in North America. The current shrine was established as a monument to them and Auriesville was called “natures own reliquary” by Pope Pius XII. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first laywoman in North America to be beatified, is also honored here. There is a Martyrs Museum adjacent to the church is home to relics of the missionaries and their Indian converts. Be sure to visit the Way of the Cross leads to the top of the hill where Father Jogues and Brother Groupil prayed during their captivity.
Pope St. John Paul II Shrine, St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Church, Buffalo, NY
St. Stanislaus is the oldest Polish Parish in New York state, dating back to the 1800’s, and was named a Diocesan Shrine to Pope St. John Paul II after his beatification. A first class relic of the Saint’s blood is on display for public veneration located in front of his statue. A special Papal Mass is celebrated every third Thursday of the month with veneration of the relics.
National St. Kateri Tekawitha Shrine, Fonda, NY
The Shrine and Museum was started in 1938 by Father Thomas Grassmann,OFM Conv. and is housed in a converted Dutch barn built in 1782. It is located a quarter of a mile from the Indian Village settlement of Fonda, called Caughnawagha, that was discovered by Father Grassmann in 1950. It is the only completely excavated Iroquois Indian village in the country and the area where St. Kateri spent most of her life. The Mohawks spent 50 years there and is the location where St. Kateri was baptized. The Chapel of St. Peter, commemorating the chapel in which the Saint was baptized, is located on the upper floor of the Shrine and the lower floor holds a display of Indian artifacts from all of the Americas. There is also a miniature replica of the village of Caughnawagha so pilgrims can see what the Mohawk village was like 300 years ago before going to see the actual fully excavated site. You can take a virtual tour of the Shrine here.
Shrine of Our Lady of the Island, Long Island, NY
The Shrine sits on 70 acres and is designed to give Pilgrims ample opportunity to reflect and pray. There is an 18 foot statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus, an outdoor Stations of the Cross, a Rosary walk, a Pope John Paul II memorial, a Blessed Sacrement Chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Island, and numerous statues and areas for prayer.
Catholic Ground Zero Memorial, New York, NY
It is not widely known, but there is a Ground Zero Catholic Memorial at St. Joseph’s Chapel on the southwest side of the World Trade Center. “The Catholic Memorial at Ground Zero honors all who died in the terrorist attacks, those who performed heroic and selfless acts on that day and in the weeks afterward, and all of us who have survived to bear witness.” Four statues were created by artist John Collier for the memorial; St. Joseph (patron of construction workers), St. Michael the Archangel (patron of police), St. Florian (patron of firefighters), and St. Mary Magdalene (first witness to the resurrection). They can be found along the eastern wall of St. Joseph’s Chapel, which is the wall closest to Ground Zero.
Most Holy Redeemer Church, New York, NY
Most Holy Redeemer Church was founded in 1844 by German immigrants and consecrated in 1852 by the Redemptorists. Then Bishop John Neumann , Bishop of Philadelphia, (now St. John Neumann) celebrated the Mass of Consecration for the church. To the right of the alter is a reliquary chapel containing over 150 relics including relics of the pillar at which Jesus was scourged, the true cross, St. Joachim, St. Ann, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Lazarus, St. John the Baptist, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Jerome to name a few. The church is also home to a wax effigy of St. Datian beneath the altar which contains the complete skeleton of the Saint. The only other Saint whose complete remains are in New York City is Mother Cabrini.
Mother Cabrini High School Chapel , New York, NY
Mother Cabrini was born in Italy and sent to the United States in 1889 by Pope Leo XIII. She founded many schools, hospitals, convents and orphanages and became the first American citizen to be canonized in 1946. Her body was found to be partially incorrupt and is enshrined in a crystal coffin under the main altar of the chapel.
Padre Pio Shrine, St. John the Baptist Church, New York, NY
The Shrine has several relics of St. Padre Pio, two of which are on display year round. One of the relics is a brown fingerless woolen glove that Pade Pio is famous for wearing for hiding the stigmata wounds on his palms and the other is a white linen sock that has stains of his blood from the stigmata on his feet. There are several other relics that are displayed on Padre Pio’s feast day and other special occasions including a fountain pen and a picture of him writing with the pen, a Christmas greeting written in his own hand, and several first class relics.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York, NY
St. Patrick’s is the largest gothic-style cathedral in the United States. It contains several altars and side chapels and the Pieta is three times larger than the Pieta in St. Peter’s, Rome. Previous Archbishops of New York are buried in a crypt under the high altar. Take a virtual tour here.
Shrine & Museum of St. Marianne Cope, Syracuse, NY
In 2005, Sister Marianne Cope was declared Blessed by Pope Benedict XVI for her heroic works of charity and was canonized October 21, 2012. In 1883 she moved from New York to Hawaii to set up a system of care for the poor & the sick and she spent the last 30 years of her life caring for those with leprosy. She is the 11th American and first Franciscan woman from North America to be canonized. The museum and shrine showcases her life and work and houses many personal items that belong to Saint Marianne Cope. Her relics are enshrined there for public veneration.
Marian Shrine (National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians), Westhaverstraw, NY
In observance of the Marian year in 1954, the Salesians of Don Bosco built a rosary way which includes 15 life-sized marble statues. Pilgrims came to pray in increasing numbers along the trail which lead to the establishment of the shrine which includes a 48 foot statue of the Rosary Madonna that was cast in Pistoria, Italy in 1959 and blessed by Pope John XXIII. There are also grottos showing the apparitions at Lourdes and Fatima and a replica of the house where Saint John Bosco grew up.
The Sorrowful Mother Shrine, Bellevue,OH
The shrine was founded in 1850 and is the oldest Marian Shrine in the Midwest and east of the Mississippi River. It was founded by a missionary priest of the Most Precious Blood, Fr. Francis de Sales Brunner. He built a small red brick chapel to the Sorrowful Mother because of his great devotion to Mary who guided him and his priests from Germany and Switzerland safely to the US. The shrine has undergone many changes including a fire in 1912 which destroyed the original statue of the Sorrowful Mother brought from Germany. There are over 30 grottos amongst the 120 acres that are open to visitors.
Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, Carey, OH
The first shrine to Our Lady of Consolation in the US was completed in 1875. When the replica statue of Our Lady arrived it was carried in a 7 mile procession to the church. Although it stormed all around them, no rain fell on the people taking part in the walk or the statue, which many felt showed the shrine as a holy place of Mary’s favors.
Holy Cross-Immaculata Church Cincinnati, OH
During the construction of the church the Archbishop had a large wooden cross erected on the site and many Catholics wore a path up the hill as they prayed there for the completion of the church. The Archbishop had stairs built to make the path easier and when the church was completed people continued to pray as they ascended each step. The Holy Cross Immaculata Church became known as the “Church of the Steps” and the pilgrimage was known as “making the steps” or “praying up the steps.” The steps have been replaced several times, the latest being 2009. There are now 96 steps leading to the top and “praying the steps” can be done year round although on Good Friday thousands of pilgrims flock to the church to “make the steps.”
Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center, Cincinnati, OH
The center is a place for “special devotions to our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and Marian activity.”. There is a Reliquary Chapel with dozens of relics for veneration, art and statues throughout the center, a meditation garden and Perpetual Adoration
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Cleveland, OH
Under the altar of the Resurrection Chapel the relics of St. Christine, her entire skeleton and a small vial of her blood now dried to powder, are displayed for public veneration. Tradition states that St. Christine died for her faith around the year 300 at the young age of only 13 or 14. She was the first female Saint to have her relics sent to America, presented to Archbishop Schrembs in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, and only the second Saint whose complete relics were given to a Diocese in the U.S. by the Vatican. There are several chapels, numerous statues, murals, and shrines for pilgrims to explore.
You can take a virtual tour of the Cathedral here.
The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration Monastery, Cleveland, OH
The All Saints Oratory at the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration Monastery is open to the public and offers more than 75 relics for veneration. There are relics from all 12 Apostles, St. Clare, St.Gerard, St. Peregrine, St. Maria Goretti, St. Bernadette, St. Charbel (Sharbel), Mother Cabrini, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Anthony of Padua, and St. Francis of Assisi among others. Mother Angelica, foundress of EWTN, started her vocation at this monastery.
The Jubilee Museum & Catholic Cultural Center, Columbus, OH
In 1998, Father Kevin Lutz established the Jubilee Museum to preserve items related to the Catholic faith. The museum’s collection includes altars, Papal treasures, framed antiphonies, a collection of crucifixes including one that is life sized and over 200 years old, painting, statues, and many other items. The collection also includes relics, including the 12 Apostles, St. Ignatius of Antioch, and the hip bone of St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Euclid, OH
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes is a copy of the shrine and grotto at Lourdes and is the oldest known replica. Two pieces of stone hewn from the rock where the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette are embedded in the grotto and a 3rd is in a reliquary in the gift shop. Hundreds of favors are reported to have been granted to pilgrims who visit the shrine and grotto.
Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics, Maria Stein, OH
The Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics houses more 1,000 relics (95% of which are first class relics), the 2nd largest collection open for veneration in the United States. Father J.M. Gartner entrusted his collection of relics to the Sisters at Maria Stein in 1875 and in 1892 the chapel that contains the relics, including a hand carved alter that was specifically built to house them, was completed. The site also includes a museum and gift shop.
Basilica of Saint Mary of the Assumption, Marietta, OH
A shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Help including a large mosaic of the icon is located at the back of the church and there is a relic of the True Cross that is available year round for veneration. Pilgrims can receive a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions by visiting the Basilica on these designated days: Feast of St. Anthony of Padua (June 13), Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (June 29), Solemnity of the Assumption (August 15), Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12) and visitors may select one additional day a year.
National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, North Jackson, OH
The Maronite Shrine is a replica of a shrine located in Harissa, Lebanon. The shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon is 50 feet high and weighs 3700 tons with 64 steps leading to the top, one for each prayer of the rosary. At the top is the 12 foot tall statue of Our Lady, which is carved of pink granite and stand on a base of over 4 feet. When the statue was placed on top of the tower in July 1965, “a large cloud turned all the brilliant shades of the rainbow” which was interpreted as a sign of the Virgin Mary’s favor. Originally the owner of the land that the shrine is on would not sell to a Catholic. The priest that wanted to buy it to build the church told the owner that he would say a novena for her to sell the property to him. Before the 9 days were over the owner called and told him, “Priest, come and take the land. Your Lady is bothering me in my sleep!”
Divine Mercy Parish, Paulding Location, Paulding, OH
At the Paulding location of the Divine Mercy Parish pilgrims have the opportunity to venerate a first class relic of St. Faustina housed in a 19th century gilded bronze reliquary. There is also an icon of the image of Divine Mercy that was commissioned by the Parish in 2008 and was completed by a iconographer in the Ukraine.
Servants of Mary Center for Peace & Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Windsor, OH
At the Servants of Mary Center for Peace a 50 foot statue of our Lady of Guadalupe overlooks a lake surrounded by a 15 decade illuminated rosary. The statue was made with over half a million mosaic tiles and was built by volunteers.
National Shrine of St. Katherine Drexel, Bensalem, PA
The National Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel is located on the grounds of the Motherhouse of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament which was founded by the saints in 1891 to serve Black and Native American peoples. There is a Saint Katherine Drexel Artifacts Gallery that includes her habit, her wheelchair, her crucifix, and her habit rosary among other things. Eucharist Adoration is offered everyday in the century old St. Elizabeth Chapel that was built in 1892 in honor of her sister. The body of St. Katharine Drexel is located under the main altar of the chapel for pilgrims to venerate.
Note: The National Shrine of St. Katherine Drexel will be closing in 2017. The Shrine will continue to be open throughout 2016 and into 2017 until the final closing date that has not yet been determined. Please check the Shrine website before finalizing your plans.
National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Doylestown , PA
The Shrine sits on 170 acres on Beacon Hill overlooking Peace Valley in Doylestown, PA. In the lower church below the main church is a replica of Our Lady’s Chapel at the Jana Gora Monastery in Czestochowa where the original icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa resides. The replica of the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, also known as “The Black Madonna” sits in a place of honor in the Shrine Chapel. There are 4 side chapels dedicated to St. Paul the First Hermit, Our Lady of Nazareth, Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Guadalupe. There is an Exhibition Hall that houses artwork and religious items, a St. Anne Chapel as well as a room dedicated to Pope St. John Paul II that includes 2nd class relics. If you’re hungry, they have a cafeteria that serves authentic Polish food. Outside is the barn Chapel, and outdoor rosary garden with statues depicting the mysteries of the rosary, a Lourdes Grotto, and a cemetery.
St. Pauline Spirituality Center, Kulpmont, PA
The St. Pauline Spirituality Center has relics of over 15 Saints on display for public veneration on the weekend including several first class relics of Saints such as St. Pauline, Padre Pio, St. Maria Goretti, St. Peter and St. Paul. Miracles have been reported by pilgrims who have come to the center and prayed for St. Pauline’s intercession. In addition to the relics, the Center has a collection of religious artifacts on display. A special area has been set up as a tribute to Pope St. John Paul II that includes a skull cap that was worn by the Saint. Pilgrims can visit the “Chapel of the Crucified” that contains items from local churches that have closed such as statues, crucifixes, and candles. Outside visitors can find the Mother Pauline Grotto and the Walk of Saints.
Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, PA
The Cathedral Basilica is the largest Catholic Church in Pennsylvania and has a huge dome that stands 156 feet above the ground. There are paintings throughout the Cathedral Basilica as well mosaics, stained glass windows, a heirloom copy of the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and a burial crypt under the main altar. There are 8 side chapels including one dedicated to St. Katherine Drexel whose altar was donated by the Saint herself and her sisters in memory of their parents, Francis and Emma Drexel. There are also shrines to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, St. Joseph, St. John Neumann who was formally the Bishop of Philadelphia, and Our Lady of Guadalupe among others. You can listen to the audio tour here and watch a video tour here.
When the National Shrine of St. Katherine Drexel closes in 2017, the body of the Saint will be moved to the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul.
Discalced Carmelite Nuns Carmel, Philadephia, PA
The Discalced Carmelite Nuns Carmel is home to a bronze reliquary containing the relics of St. Therese of Lisieux and her parents, Louis & Zelie Martin. The relics are available for veneration every Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, and every Sunday from 8am – 3pm, however the relics do occasionally travel so please call ahead before visiting.
Miraculous Medal Shrine & Museum, Philadelphia, PA
Learn about the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Catherine Laboure and the origins of the Miraculous Medal at the Shrine. There is a replica of the chair that the Virgin Mary sat in during the Apparition and a relic of St. Catherine Laboure available for veneration. They also have a collection of Marian artwork, in fact, over 500 pieces of Religious art in total at the museum. An appointment me is required for the museum but not the Shrine.
National Shrine of St. John Neumann, Philadelphia, PA
Pilgrims can venerate the body of St. John Neumann encased in the main altar of the Shrine. There is also a museum that holds documents and artifacts from the life of the Saint and his canonization including a prayer book he wrote out by hand, his chalice, and instruments he used for self mortification. Take a virtual tour here.
The Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia offers novena prayers and veneration of the relic of St. Rita every Wednesday after all Masses. There is replica on display of the religious habit that previously clothed the incorrupt body of St. Rita that was given to the Shrine by the Sisters of Cascia in Italy. You can take a virtual tour of the Shrine here
St. Anthony’s Chapel , Pittsburgh, PA
St. Anthony’s Chapel has the largest collection of relics for public veneration with over 5000 relics housed in the Shrine of Saints. (The Vatican has the largest private collection of relics.) The collection was amassed by Father Suitbert Mollinger who is also responsible for the construction of the shrine. The chapel also houses the Father Mollinger museum.
Shrine of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, Nativity of Our Lord Church, Warminster, PA
Nativity of Our Lord Church is home to the first known Shrine of St. Gianna after her canonization. The Shrine has several second class relics of St. Gianna on permanent display for public veneration including a pair of gloves that she wore and lockets containing peice of clothing she wore. The relics were obtained by the Shrine directly from the Molla family.
House of Mary Shrine, Yankton, SD
The shrine is located on the picturesque shore of Lewis & Clark Lake. You can walk the Way of the Cross that winds up Calvary Hill which features three 50 foot wooden crosses at the 13th Station. There are many other peaceful places for prayer and reflection including a Rosary pond, a Rosary way, a meditation area, and several small shrines honoring various saints.
Shrine of the True Cross, Dickinson, TX
In 1936 a relic of the True Cross was obtained for the Shrine from the Basilica Church of Santa Croce in Jerusalemme (The Holy Cross in Jerusalem) in Rome where a large piece of the Holy Cross resides. The relic of the Holy Cross is available in the church year round for veneration and in addition, there is the opportunity to venerate the relic with a kiss on Good Friday and receive a plenary indulgence.
National Museum of Funeral History, Houston,TX
The National Museum of Funeral History has two permanent exhibits about Saints and Popes. The “Making of a Saint” exhibit details the process of becoming a Saint and particularly focuses on Pope St. John Paul II with a special collection of his memorabilia which include an authentic “Popemobile”, a 1982 Range Rover he used during his tour of the United Kingdom in the 80’s as well as other Papal artifacts. It is a new addition to the popular 5000 square foot “Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popes” exhibit. It includes sections on Catholic and Papal funerals as well as life inside the Vatican. There is a full scale replica of Pope St. John Paul II’s original crypt, an exact reproduction of the coffins of three previous Popes, authentic uniforms worn by members of the Swiss Guard, and replicas of Papal vestments created by the tailor shop that has made the actual vestments for the last seven Popes. The Museum collaborated with the Vatican for more than 3 years to create the exhibit. There are also many secular exhibits you can visit while you are there including a 9/11 and Fallen Heroes Tribute, Presidential Funerals, and Historical Hearses.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen Centre, El Paso, TX
The museum is dedicated to showcasing the life and works of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. On display are items from his life, his TV show, and his ministry. They include original handwritten manuscripts, the Emmy he won, photographs, and other personal items.
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Taft, TX
The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church has a relic of the finger bone of Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio that is available for veneration Monday to Saturday year round. Blessed Jose fought for religious freedom against the Mexican government and was martyred at the age of 14. When the Mexican soldiers tried to get him to denounce his faith he shouted “Viva Cristo Rey” or “Long Live Christ the King.”
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington,D.C.
In May 1846, nineteen bishops petitioned the Pope to proclaim Mary as Patroness of the United States under the title of the Immaculate Conception, 8 years before the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. In 1847 Pope Pius IX granted the petition and named Mary our country’s patroness. In 1914 Pope Pius X granted permission to build a Marian sanctuary. The Basilica of the National Shine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Roman Catholic Church in the US and all of North America and is among the top 10 largest churches in the world. The Basilica is Byzantine-Romanesque in style, was built in the form of a Latin cross and has over 70 chapels and oratories. Take a virtual tour here.
Franciscan Monastery (Holy Land of the Americas), Washington D.C.
In 1898 Father Godfrey Schilling, OFM, opened a shrine, which he called Holy Land of the Americas, to benefit those who are unable to visit the sacred shrines in the Holy Land. Shrines and Grottos of the Holy Land and other sacred places have been faithfully recreated including the Holy Sepulchre, Lourdes Grotto, the Sanctuary of Calvary, the Tomb of the Blessed Virgin, the Grottos of Nazareth and Bethlehem, the Grotto of Gesthsemane, and the Martyrs Crypt. Take a virtual tour here.
Saint John Paul II National Shrine, Washington D.C.
The Saint John Paul II Nation Shrine is dedicated to bringing people closer to God through his saint, Pope John Paul II. A 16,000 square feet permanent exhibit called, “A Gift of Love: The Life of Saint John Paul II” takes visitors through the life and 25 year papacy of St. John Paul II through a series of 9 galleries that includes interactive displays, one of a kind personal artifacts, and educational films. The Shrine also gives pilgrims the opportunity to venerate two first class relics of Pope St. John Paul II. The first relic is a glass ampoule of St. John Paul II’s blood suspended in an ornate reliquary. The second relic is a piece of blood stained cloth from the cassock worn by John Paul the second during the assassination attempt on his life in St. Peter’s Square.
Our Lady of Good Help, Champion, WI
In December 2010, Our Lady of Good Help was approved as the first Marian apparition site in the United States.
The Virgin Mary appeared to Adele Brise in October 1859 and gave her a mission, “Gather the children in this wild country, and teach them what they should know for salvation . Go and fear nothing. I will help you.” There have been several miracles reported there including the miraculous preservation of the shrine itself from the Peshitgo fire.
National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, LaCrosse, WI
The Shrine sits on 70 acres and is a half a mile walk up a hill from the parking area with golf cart shuttle service offered for those that can’t make the climb. They offer several first class relics for public veneration year round including one of St.Peregrine and one of Blessed Father Miguel Pro, both located in the respective side altars dedicated to them. There is also an Adoration Chapel, a Rosary Walk, Stations of the Cross and a Mother of Good Counsel Votive Candle Chapel where “the candles are constantly burning to represent the ceaseless prayers of God’s children and their heavenly Mother for the salvation of the world.” The candle rack is 14 feet high x 12 feet wide and contains 576 candles that pilgrims can request be lit for any period of time of their choosing. There is also a moving Memorial to the Unborn, watched over by a Guardian Angel statue, where unborn children can be memorialized through entombment in the columbarium or the inscription of their name on the wall of the Memorial. Pilgrims can receive a plenary indulgence under the usual circumstances for visiting the Shrine on the patronal feast day of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome (August 5), patronal feast day of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12), all solemnities of the Virgin Mother of God (January 1, March 25, August 15, December 8), any day chosen by a pilgrim once a year, and as many times during the year as the faithful are part of an organized pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse.
St. Joan of Arc Chapel, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
Sitting quietly on the campus of Marquette University stands St. Joan of Arc Chapel that was built in 1420 in the village of Chasse, France. Yes, that’s right. FRANCE. And its now in Wisconsin. Originally the Chapelle de St. Martin de Sayssuel (named in honor of the French Saint), it fell into disrepair and after being restored and was purchased by Gertrude Hill Gavin, a railroad heiress in the United States who had it taken apart piece by piece and shipped from France to New York. She also bought and installed in the Chapel a stone believed to have been kissed by St. Joan of Arc while she prayed on it before battle, which would make it a 2nd class relic. The stone came with an official French endorsement of authenticity and according to tradition it is always colder to the touch than the stones around it. The stone is located at the base of a wall niche behind the altar. Gavin renamed the Chapel the St. Joan of Arc Chapel and received written permission from Pope Pius XI in 1933 to have Mass said there. The letter still hangs in the nave. After being sold and miraculously saved from a fire that destroyed an adjacent building in 1962, the Chapel was donated to Marquette University. Several Chapel furnishings were also donated include a font dating back to the 12th century. In 1966 the Chapel was re-opened at Marquette University after being once again disassembled, transported, and reassembled on the campus. Mass is held when school is in session. Admission to the Chapel is free year round and tours can be scheduled by calling the Office of Campus Ministry.