The Midwestern part of the United States has some stunning shrines hidden throughout the countryside. Given its rich history, these shrines reflect the people, ethnic groups, and religious orders that originally settled that area.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin, for example, is in a Belgian area. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame is in an area originally built by the Congregation of the Holy Cross.
Numerous other shrines exist in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and all over. Given the beauty of this season of year and the colorful fall foliage, trips to these shrines can be a brilliant idea for the single traveler or as an idea for a date.
If travelling on a date, I recommend these ideas as a day trip and do not recommend staying overnight in a hotel with your date. Let’s remember God is calling us to chastity in the single life! We are called to be the “saints of the new millennium” as John Paul II reminds us.
National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, Champion, Wisconsin
This is my favorite shrine in the Midwest. You will have to drive through miles and miles of cornfields to reach this lovely Marian shrine just outside of Green Bay. True to Our Lady’s style, she often chooses to appear in places that are agricultural in nature. Our Lady of Good Help is surrounded by farms and cornfields. A local farmer sells vegetables next to the shrine.
When you arrive at this shrine, you will catch sight of the main church. Next to the church is a lovely crypt which contains the actual apparition site of Our Lady. Our Lady appeared here to Adele Brise above an oak tree. The crypt is quite peaceful and dark. It is perfect for prayer and is lit up by lovely blue candles.
If you are alone or on a date here, why not light a candle and say a Rosary here? In the back of the crypt, numerous wooden crutches line the wall, left by those who received healings at this shrine. Our Lady’s intercession is very powerful and many miracles have taken place at this shrine.
After the shrine, I recommend the wonderful Titletown Brewing Company in nearby Green Bay for lunch or dinner. The restaurant and microbrewery has fantastic burgers, pizza, and craft beers.
Shrine of St. Joseph, St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin
This shrine is located at the Old St. Joseph’s Church and is near the Our Lady of Good Help Shrine. Both shrines can be seen in the same day. How fitting that a shrine to St. Joseph would be established near a shrine to the Blessed Mother.
St. Joseph is a very Marian saint. The church was renovated and a statue of St. Joseph was placed in the abbey crypt. St. Joseph is a powerful saint and can inspire us to high ideals in our work, fatherhood, and in our faith.
St. Joan of Arc Chapel, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
This tiny Gothic chapel on the campus of Jesuit Marquette University dates from the 15th century and was actually moved from France to Milwaukee. There is also a 13th century stone behind the altar in the chapel and antique tapestries line the stone chapel.
Tradition has it that this is the same stone Joan prayed at before battle and that this stone was kissed by St. Joan of Arc. St. Joan is a saint of fortitude, an amazing saint for the times we live in. She is the patron saint of France. The quiet, contemplative atmosphere of this small chapel make it well worth a visit.
Marytown, The National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Libertyville, Illinois
This beautiful church is one of my personal favorite for prayer. The church has frequent Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In addition, there are chapels dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, as well as relics to many saints, and a whole exhibit dedicated to St. Maximilian Kolbe, the Marian saint who gave his live for a father at a concentration camp. The Rosary walk outside the shrine is also worth as a visit, as is the lovely gift shop.
National Shrine of St. Therese, Darien, Illinois
This huge shrine houses a large church, a museum to St. Therese, as well as a Carmelite meditation garden. Incredible stained glass windows tell of the soul’s journey to God. There are also wood panels showing the life of St. Therese. The museum tells of her brief life and also has several relics of St. Therese. The Little Flower is sure to impress you and a visit here is fantastic.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen Museum/Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Peoria, Illinois
This museum is located in the Spaulding Pastoral Center, very near to where Sheen graduated from high school. Nearby is the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception. It was here that Fulton Sheen was an altar boy. The museum depicts the life of Fulton Sheen—this impressive saint of the media, this man of prayer, this Marian saint, this man for others.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart/Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana
Most people are quite familiar with the breathtaking campus of the University of Notre Dame for football games, but few have stopped to visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of Notre Dame.
The deep blue color of the ceiling covered with stars draws the worshipper in and makes one contemplate the heavens. The golden tabernacle soars to the ceiling. Beautiful paintings of the Old and New Testament grace the basilica. One must simply see this basilica for oneself.
The Grotto at Notre Dame is a quiet respite, a place of prayer. Light a candle here and say a Hail Mary. This spot is also known as a prime place where proposals take place.
So, if you come here with a date and have discerned marriage, this could be a great spot for a proposal, entrusting your engagement to the Mother of God.
The Midwest is filled with sacred spots to explore. Go see one or go see all of them. They will inspire you and draw you closer to God.