Wisconsin is a wonderful place to explore during the summer months with its lush rolling hills, valleys, forests and farmland. It’s also home to many Catholic shrines, sites and destinations. Some are internationally known, while others are small, quaint places cherished by the locals. As we did in fall 2011, the Catholic newspapers in the five dioceses in the state, (Superior, La Crosse, Madison, Green Bay and Milwaukee), have collaborated on this Catholic roadtrip across Wisconsin, highlighting some of the special, inspirational Catholic sites our state has to offer. We invite you to take a Catholic roadtrip this summer to visit some of these uniquely Catholic treasures in our state.
1. St. Joan of Arc Chapel
Marquette University Campus
1250 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, Milwaukee County
The St. Joan of Arc Chapel, in use during the 15th century in France, is a hidden gem located just south of Raynor Memorial Library on the Marquette University campus since 1966. It was gifted to Marquette in 1964, dismantled and sent to the campus for the university to reconstruct.
Featuring a heated floor, the chapel is a vibrant part of the spiritual lives of students, faculty and staff. According to legend, elevated behind the altar is the stone that St. Joan of Arc prayed on and kissed before a statue of the Virgin Mary. The stone remains a few degrees colder than surrounding stones. Free tours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays; large bus groups call (414) 288-6873. Attend Mass at 7 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 4. For information visit www.marquette.edu/chapel.
2. Redemptorist Retreat Center
1800 North Timber Trail Lane,
Oconomowoc, Waukesha County
Located on the shores of Crooked Lake, the Redemptorist Retreat Center offers a peaceful get away from the stresses of everyday life. Stop in for a day and walk the labyrinth, pray in the chapel, enjoy God’s splendor strolling the center’s 20 acres of natural woodlands and garden walkways and shop in the gift shop featuring director Br. Gerry Patin’s Brother Beekeeper products. The Redemptorist tends 14 hives and products include honey, lip balms, lotions and soaps.
If you have time for a longer stay, the center offers both directed, overnight retreats year round as well as a fully furnished hermitage limited to one guest at a time. For information visit www.redemptoristretreat.org or call (262) 567-6900.
3. Fr. Mazzuchelli exhibit at Sinsinawa Mound
585 County Road Z, Sinsinawa, Grant County
Experience the exhibit “Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP, Tracing a Journey,” at Sinsinawa Mound, which follows the footsteps of the community’s founder. The exhibit highlights Venerable Fr. Mazzuchelli’s accomplishments as a religious leader, educator and builder throughout the Mississippi Valley. View artifacts, including his writing desk, chalice, chasuble and penance chain.
The Mazzuchelli exhibit is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Groups larger than five are asked to call in advance to make arrangements at (608) 748-4411. For more information, visit www.sinsinawa.org.
4. Schoenstatt Shrine
5901 Cottage Grove Road, Madison, Dane County
The Founder Shrine in Madison, the first Schoenstatt Shrine to be built in the United States, was dedicated June 20, 1953. At the cornerstone laying on Oct. 18, 1952, Bishop William Patrick O’Connor of Madison expressed his hope and conviction that the shrine would become a “spiritual powerhouse,” not only for the Diocese of Madison,
but also for all the United States.
A variety of events take place at the shrine throughout the year, such as rosary devotions, eucharistic adoration, retreats as well as an annual festival on the first Sunday of August. Visit www.schoenstattmadison.com or call (608) 222-7208 for more information.
5. St. Rose of Viterbo Convent
912 Market St., La Crosse, La Crosse County
For 135 years, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration have prayed for the world, the church, people and the community at St. Rose of Viterbo Convent, their motherhouse in La Crosse. The Sisters, who have been praying nonstop for longer than anyone in the United States, will celebrate this milestone on Aug. 1.
More than 30 years after the Franciscans moved into the convent in 1871, the Maria Angelorum Chapel, designed by Eugene R. Liebert, was consecrated in 1906. The work of artist, Thaddeus von Zukotynski, showing St. Francis of Assisi, Franciscan founder at prayer in the Little Chapel of Portiuncula, surrounded by visions of Jesus, Mary and angelic hosts, hangs above the altar in Mary of the Angels Chapel.
For information, call (608) 782-5610 or visit www.fspa.org.
6. The Marian Center for Peace
241 Apricot St., Wisconsin Rapids, Wood County
The Mother of America Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel at the Marian Center for Peace of Wisconsin Rapids is the perfect family or group pilgrimage destination in Central Wisconsin, especially if you cannot travel to Mexico.
Located in the former convent of SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, the Marian Center houses the Mother of America Perpetual Adoration Chapel. A relic image of Our Lady of Guadalupe hangs in the chapel. The facility also houses life-sized, back-lit copies of the Shroud of Turin, a small lending library and a resource center/gift shop.
For information, email email@example.com or call (715) 424-6279. Download a brochure at www.marian centerforpeace.org.
7. Packers Heritage Trail
Begins at Neville Public Museum, 210 Museum Place, Green Bay, Brown County
The Packers Heritage Trail includes several Catholic sites with ties to the team’s history. A self-guided walking tour, it features 22 commemorative plaques located within a two-mile radius of downtown Green Bay. St. Willebrord Church, where Vince Lombardi attended morning Mass, is the 10th site.
The plaque outside the church chronicles the Lombardi connection, the parish history and information about the former pastor, a close friend of the legendary coach. The Norbertines took ownership of the Columbus Community Club, the 12th site, in 1940. The club was used by the Packers for celebrations, banquets and rallies and once housed Central Catholic High School. Another stop is on the campus of St. Norbert College in De Pere, the Packers training camp home since 1958.
For information, visit www.packersheritagetrail.com.
8. Green Bay Diocese Museum and Cultural Center
140 Monroe St., Green Bay, Brown County
The Green Bay Diocese Museum and Cultural Center, in the lower level of the Bishop Wycislo Center, next to St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, is home to some 700 religious objects dating to the 19th century. The items range from liturgical vestments and sacred vessels to furnishings that adorned St. Mary Church, the diocese’s pro-cathedral until the present cathedral was dedicated in 1881. Glass cabinets house gold plated chalices decorated with precious stones and bishops’ episcopal rings and pectoral crosses. Historical books, prayer cards, letters, saints’ relics and sacramentals are also on display.
Guided tours of the Green Bay Diocese Museum and Cultural Center are by appointment only, (920) 432-4348. While at the Bishop Wycislo Center, take a free self-guided audio tour of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral. Headsets with pre-recorded audio descriptions of cathedral highlights available.
9. St. Francis Solanus ‘Mission’ Church
13891 Mission Road, on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe reservation near Hayward, Sawyer County
Since 1881 this parish has served Catholic Ojibwe people of the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation. The church’s interior features Native American artistic embellishments including a deer hide wigwam housing the tabernacle.
A hand-knit afghan features zigzag Ojibwe design and colors, and stained glass windows’ art shows Native people and designs. Nuns and parishioners maintain a gift shop on site. Begun in the 1920s with the School Sisters of St. Francis selling souvenirs out of the convent, the shop features genuine Ojibwe handcrafts created by the local Ojibwe including beadwork bracelets, headbands, barrettes, key rings, purses, belts, dolls, birch bark items, baskets, handmade stitched quilts, moccasins, dream catchers, necklaces and more. For information call (715) 865-3669 or visit www.stfrancismission.org.
10. St. Francis of Assisi Meditative Prayer Walk
Holy Family Church, 8950 County Road J,
Woodruff, Oneida County
Located in a forest behind the church, the walk begins at a white birch cross. The short path is a level grassy loop that winds its way through towering pines and fields of ferns. Each station features an event from the life of St. Francis with a concluding question for meditation.
Benches at each station provide vistors a place to relax and hear wind rustle through the pines while reflecting on each meditation. A statue of St. Francis and a gazebo are halfway through the walk. Deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife grace the area. For information call (715) 356-6284 or visit www.holyfamilywoodruff.org.