Illinois is truly a dream US state to travel to for some. The natural beauty, architecture, and contributions to the automotive industry entice people to explore the place. Aside from these, it is also popular because of its Catholic heritage which is evident in its Catholic Churches including Shrines and Retreat Centers. In this blog post, we will enumerate some of the most beautiful Catholic Shrines in Illinois, that you should consider visiting.
Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Let’s start our tour with the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Located in Des Plaines Illinois, it is one of the most popular Catholic and Marian Shrines in Chicago and Illinois. The site highlights the 12 ft tall statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the 6-foot tall statue of San Juan Diego. It also has a replica of one of the popular sculptures in the Basilica in Mexico, The Offering. The relationship between this Shrine and the original Shrine in Mexico is so strong that this site was given the faculty of being a place where pilgrims can fulfill their promises to Our Lady of Guadalupe as if they were being fulfilled at its original Basilica in Mexico. Overall, the Shrine is serene and quiet. This is a must-visit Catholic Shrine in Chicago.
Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii
Our next destination is the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii. Located in Chicago Illinois, it was originally established in 1911 as an Italian National Parish. Built in 1923, it is affiliated with the Shrine of the Virgin of the Rosary in Pompeii, Italy. It is under the administration of Scalabrini Fathers. The physical attributes of the site, inside and outside are just exquisite. It is quaint making it traditional looking. It has remarkable paintings, sculptures, and stained-glass windows. The place is also peaceful. What’s even more lovely about this holy place is that the community is friendly and warm. One of the Catholic havens in Chicago. This Shrine should be on your bucket list once you are in Illinois!
The National Shrine of St. Jude
The National Shrine of St. Jude was founded by a Claretian Priest, Fr. James Tort in 1929. Located in Chicago Illinois, this Shrine is a pilgrim favorite because of St. Jude’s patronage (Hope and Lost Causes) which everyone can be in need of. Currently, it is under the care and guidance of Claretians. The Shrine is within Our Lady Guadalupe Church. Upon the entrance, the Altar, Statue, and First Class Relic of St. Jude will welcome you. The case at the bottom of the Altar contains thousands of petitions sent to the Shrine weekly. There is also a Vigil Lightroom next to the Altar where another statue of St. Jude with glowing candles is situated. This is a place where you can write your petitions. This is such a gem in Chicago!
Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica
Located on the West Side of Chicago is a majestic Basilica and Shrine, Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica which also shelters the National Shrine of St. Peregrine. It was founded in 1874 and has been administered by the Servile Fathers since. It has an architectural style of an Italian Renaissance Revival featuring an exterior that is just picturesque. Just when you thought that the outside is magnificent, wait ’til you see its interior! It will make your jaw drops even more. The inside look is a living religious artwork. It has an attractive ceiling wrapping around the marble Altar. There are also fine-looking stained-glass windows and sculptures. This is both a Basilica and a Shrine, so you are visiting two sanctuaries simultaneously.
National Shrine and Museum of St. Therese
Next on our list is the National Shrines and Museum of St. Therese. It is situated on a Carmelite Campus in Darien Illinois where the Spiritual Center, Meditation Garden, and Gift shop also lie. Four years in the making, this new National Shrine was dedicated on October 1, 2018, Feast Day of the Little Flower. Around this new Shrine are tiny prayer stations to Carmelite Saints. Aside from the Shrine, it also has a museum. It houses first and second-class relics of St. Therese, photos of her, and paintings of scenes in her life. There is also an enormous stained-glass window depicting the Saint and a huge wood carving of telling her life story. It is such a spectacular Shrine!
National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe
Another Shrine in honor of a Saint is the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe. It is located at Marytown, Libertyville Illinois. The Conventual Franciscan Friars of Saint Bonaventure Province maintains the Shrine. It includes a conference center, retreat house, gift shop, and bookstore. Lies at the center is the Blessed Sacrament Chapel which is one of the most stunning pilgrimage sites in the country. To add, there is an educational holocaust exhibit in the basement where you get to know St. Maximilian’s story. His relics are also available for veneration. Gardens and outdoor shrines are everywhere which are great for contemplation. Most importantly, they have 24/7 adoration. This is absolutely worthy of your visit!
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows
Last on our list and another Marian Shrine is the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. Situated in Belleville Illinois, it was founded in 1958 and is under the operation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The Shrine is a whopping 200-acre wonder. With its capacity, numerous points of religious activity are available. It has Our Lady of the Snows Church, Lourdes Grotto, walking trails, and even a theatre. There are plenty of Gardens as well. There are also the Stations of the Cross where you can pray with audio. You should also visit their gift shop where they sell various religious items. Getting a souvenir is always a fun idea. If you are looking for a place with a lot of space to pray, this is your place!
There you have the most beautiful Catholic Shrines in Illinois!
Illinois is such a wonderful US state. It has a handful of Catholic Shrines that will surely help you transform your spirituality in the best ways possible. These sanctuaries will reconnect you with the Lord through their peacefulness and quietness.
As Catholics, going to one of these Shrines is such a blessing so if you got the chance, never miss it.
Have a fruitful and holy journey.
Pray, travel, and enjoy.