Fall is a wonderful time to explore our beautiful state of Wisconsin with its stunning hills, valleys, forests and farmland. It’s also home to many Catholic shrines, sites and destinations. Some are internationally known, others are small, quaint places cherished by the locals in the area. The Catholic newspapers in the five dioceses in the state, (Superior, La Crosse, Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee) have put together a sampling of some of these inspirational places in our state and invite you to take a Catholic roadtrip this fall to visit these beautiful, uniquely Catholic treasures in our state.
1. Schoenstatt Shrine
St. Vincent Pallotti Church,
5310 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee
Known as the exile shrine, this exact replica of the Schoenstatt Shrine in Germany was built in 1954 at Holy Cross Parish, Milwaukee (now St. Vincent Pallotti East Church), during the time Fr. Joseph Kentenich, founder of the International Schoenstatt Movement, lived in Milwaukee. After spending nearly four years in a Dachau concentration camp, Fr. Kentenich was sent to Milwaukee in 1951 to serve as chaplain for the German-speaking immigrants in Milwaukee. Fr. Kentenich encouraged his followers to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the example and guidance of Mary. The Milwaukee shrine is one of 195 identical buildings in the world in 32 countries on five continents. Because of Fr. Kentenich’s work in the area, Milwaukee is historically important to the Schoenstatt Movement. Eucharistic adoration takes place Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m., and the 17th and 18th of the month, 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. About a half hour west of the Milwaukee shrine in Waukesha is the International Schoenstatt Center in Waukesha, a retreat center. For information, call (262) 522-4300 or visit www.schoenstattwisconsin.org.
2. Basilica of Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians
1525 Carmel Road, Hubertus
A registered national landmark that attracts more than 500,000 visitors annually, the Basilica of Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians is located about 30 miles northwest of Milwaukee and 70 miles east of Madison. The site, located on 435 acres of rural countryside at the highest elevation (1,300 feet) in the southeastern part of Wisconsin, features the stunning architecture of the neo-Romanesque church built in 1926 and fully renovated in 2005. Its 435 acres of rural countryside offers visitors peace, serenity and beauty. Features include an outdoor Stations of the Cross, scenic tower offering a breathtaking view of the surrounding Kettle Moraine area and the Old Monastery Inn Cafeteria known for its excellent desserts. Run by Discalced Carmelites since 1906, the shrine was elevated to minor basilica status by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006. Visit www.holyhill.com or call (262) 628 – 1838 for Mass times, hours of operation for the café, gift shop and scenic tower.
3. Dickeyville Grotto and Shrines
Off Highway 151 on Highway 61; 305 W. Main St., Dickeyville
This vast piece of American folk art on the grounds of Holy Ghost Church was constructed by Fr. Matthias Wernerus, pastor from 1925 to 1930, without the aid of blueprints. It is dedicated to the love of God and the love of country. The various shrines amid the floral gardens are made of stone, mortar and an eclectic multitude of brightly colored objects and materials. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, with guided tours available June through August. (Tours are available only on weekends through October.) A religious gift shop is onsite. For more information, contact 608-568-3119 or visit www.dickeyvillegrotto.com.
4. Durward’s Glen
Off Highway 78 in Columbia County, about 10 miles southeast of Baraboo; W11876 McLeisch Road, Baraboo
Nestled in the Baraboo Bluffs in central Wisconsin, this 150-year-old Nationally Registered Historic Place is named after the family of Bernard Isaac Durward, who moved here in 1862. From 1932 until 2006, the property was owned by the Order of St. Camillus, and is now owned by a local group dedicated to its upkeep. The 40-acre grounds are open to the public and offer scenic hiking trails, the Mary Mother of God Grotto, the retreat center, a Stations of the Cross, an outdoor chapel, various statuary, and picnic areas. Tuesdays are a special day at Durward’s Glen for all visitors. Mass is held at 8 a.m., followed by a spiritual talk and refreshments. Historical tours are at 9:30 a.m.
5. The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
5250 Justin Road, La Crosse
Take the circuitous walk up shrine’s hill, punctuated by devotional sites dedicated to various American saints. Along the way, stop in at the Votive Chapel, take the rosary walk wending its way around the hillside adjacent to the Shrine Church, and visit the Memorial to the Unborn, an open-air pavilion adorned with flower gardens and engraved papal writings on the sanctity of life mounted at contemplative intervals around the half-arc of the memorial’s pillared portico. The highlight of the pilgrimage, the Shrine Church itself is a masterpiece of neo-classical design. The Shrine’s own Culina Mariana Café offers a refreshing menu of food and drink. Open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., 365 days a year, the shrine can be enjoyed in all four seasons. Free admission and no reservations necessary. For more information, call (608) 782-5440 or visit www.guadalupeshrine.org.
6. The Rudolph Grotto
6957 Grotto Ave., Rudolph
Built by the late Fr. Philip Wagner (1882-1959) and layman Edmun Rybicki (1916-1991) from 1921-1929, the Rudolph Grotto was constructed after Fr. Wagner as a seminarian fell ill and promised Our Lady he would build a shrine for her if he regained his health. The hand-built grotto – the largest of its kind in Wisconsin – offers almost seven acres of natural landscape collaborating with rock art and sculpture. The grotto, located adjacent to St. Philip Catholic Church, Rudolph, in the La Crosse Diocese, includes a “Wonder Cave,” and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission is free to the grotto grounds; the Wonder Cave admission is adults, $2.50, Ages 12-17, $1.25; and ages 6-11, 25 cents. Reservations are encouraged for groups of 30 or more. For more information or for reservations, call (715) 435-3120 or (715) 435-3456 or visit www.rudolphgrotto.org.
7. The National Shrine of Saint Joseph
St. Norbert Abbey
1016 N. Broadway Drive, De Pere
Located in the crypt of St. Norbert Abbey, the National Shrine of Saint Joseph was created in 1891 and in 1898, it was entrusted to the Norbertines. The statue of Joseph holding the child Jesus was originally housed in St. Joseph Church, on the grounds of St. Norbert College. Fr. Joseph Durin, pastor of St. Joseph, formed an association of the faithful to honor St. Joseph in 1888. In 1892, his request was approved by Pope Leo XIII and the Archconfraternity of St. Joseph was founded. Later that year, the statue received two crowns – one for Joseph and one for Jesus. It was moved to its present site after the abbey was built in 1959.
Eucharistic adoration along with prayers for the perpetual novena to St. Joseph, started by Fr. Durin in 1888, takes place on Wednesdays at 3:15 p.m.
For hours, contact St. Norbert Abbey at (920) 337-4300 or visit www.shrineofsaintjoseph.org.
8. Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help
4047 Chapel Dr., (off CTH K) Champion
This shrine is the only site of a church approved apparition of Mary in the U.S. or Canada. In October 1859, the history of what was known as “The Chapel” began when Adele Brise reported seeing “the queen of heaven.” The Belgian immigrant dedicated her life to teaching the catechism to local children. She established a boarding school and a third order community known as the Sisters of Good Help at the site.
“La Chapelle,” as locals called it, was spared the Peshtigo Fire of Oct. 8, 1871. During the night of the fire, the faithful carried a statue of Mary around the six acre area in prayer. Outside this perimeter, everything was burned but inside remained unscathed. The procession is re-enacted annually in October.
Adele Brise died in 1896 and is buried in a small cemetery on the grounds.
The current chapel (the fourth) was dedicated on July 12, 1942. The crypt holds a statue of Mary on the site of the apparitions. The crypt also holds crutches left by those who claim to have experienced cures. The upper church holds the processional figure of Mary, a stained glass window depicting the two trees – a maple and a hemlock – between which Adele said Mary appeared and relics of those trees.
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Outdoor Stations of the Cross, grottoes, a roadside shrine and a gift shop. For more information, visit www.shrineofourladyofgoodhelp.com or call (920) 866-2571.
9. Cathedral of Christ the King
1410 Baxter Ave., Superior
Founded in 1886, the Cathedral of Christ the King is the mother church of the Diocese of Superior. In the early 2000s, the 75-year-old structure underwent a nearly three-year restoration described in the Feb. 10, 2005 Superior Catholic Herald as elegant but not gaudy. The restoration not only repaired chipping stone on the building’s exterior, and replaced portions of the building’s copper roof, but included restoring stained glass windows and included the installation of three mosaics crafted by Miotto Mosaics of Italy. One of the new mosaics is of Christ the Procreator, made from glass tessera tiles, now graces the cathedral apse. It was created in the style of an icon, an art form developed in countries such as Byzantine, Russia and Eastern Europe.
Mass is celebrated daily at the cathedral, with the exception of Mondays at 8:30 a.m. when a Communion service is held. For information, call (715) 392-8511 or for detailed Mass times and a map to the cathedral, visit http://superiorcathedral.org.
10. St. Joseph Church
E. 266 Ojibwa Road, La Pointe
While the quaint town of La Pointe, located on Madeline Island only a short ferry ride from Bayfield, seems a bit small (only 3 miles wide and 14 miles long) it has much to offer along the lines of camping and other outdoor recreation. But we think a step indoors at St. Joseph Church promises an unparalleled trip back in time. Take the opportunity to celebrate Mass with your family during one of the four months it is open during the year – Memorial Day through the first weekend in October – and spend a few minutes afterward flipping through old visitor logs and photo albums. The oldest Catholic church in the Diocese of Superior, St. Joseph was established in 1662 and originally built of logs. In 1835, the Austrian priest, Fr. Frederic Baraga, founded a church on Madeline Island to minister to the Native Americans. In two weeks, the Catholics on the island helped construct a log church just south of the Indian Cemetery. By 1841 they needed a larger building and built on the present site. After a major fire destroyed the original structure in 1901, it was replaced with the current structure in 1902. Visit www.catholicdos.org or call (715) 779-9804 for Mass times.