Praying in sacred spaces
Regional shrines are beloved sites of devotion for pilgrims. A shrine, said Pope Francis, is “the most eloquent expression of the faith of God’s people.”
Defined by Canon Law as a church or other sacred place that has the approval of the bishop, is visited by the faithful as pilgrims and has some particular focus of devotion, a shrine is often a much-loved pilgrimage destination.
Our Lady of the Martyrs Shrine, located in the hamlet of Auriesville, New York, is such an example. Auriesville was once the 17th century Mohawk village of Ossernernon. The shrine, named for Mary, “Our Lady of the Martyrs,” is dedicated to three Jesuit missionaries martyred there and to St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the daughter of an Algonquin Catholic woman and Mohawk chief.
For more than 130 years, the shrine was under the direction of the Jesuits but is now owned and operated by the Friends of Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine, a board of volunteers dedicated to maintaining the shrine.
Daily Masses are celebrated at the shrine, which also includes a museum and gift shop. Pilgrims are invited, as individuals and groups, for self-guided or staff-guided tours. Opportunities to explore the shrine and other religious topics of interest are offered through the Auriesville Institute Series, which provides informative sessions taught by local experts.
The shrine is located at 136 Shrine Road, Fultonville, New York.
The National Shrine of Our Lady of LaSalette, Attleboro, Massachusetts, is a year-round shrine offering opportunities to come closer to God through a variety of ministries; daily Mass and reconciliation; programs and events, including a Christmas Festival of Lights; pilgrimages; and the peaceful atmosphere of the grounds.
The history of the shrine, according to its website, explains that “any LaSalette story traces its beginnings to Sept. 19, 1846, when the Blessed Mother appeared to two shepherd children at LaSalette, a small hamlet in the French Alps. Through the children, she gave her message of ‘Reconciliation’ to the world.”
In 1852 the Missionaries of Our Lady of LaSalette were founded to serve as a “perpetual remembrance of Mary’s merciful Apparition” and in 1942 bought the Attleboro property as a major seminary. Ten years later, the construction of the shrine was announced.
For more information visit lasaletteattleboroshrine.org or call 508-222-5410.
The Shrine is located at 947 Park St., Attleboro, Massachusetts.
The Shrine of Our Lady of LaSalette in Enfield, New Hampshire, is a scenic place of prayer and spiritual renewal. Missionary of LaSalette Father John Sullivan, shrine director, shared the mission of the shrine, writing on its website: “We wish to be a Center of Reconciliation, taking our focus from the Apparition of the Mother of God. … She spoke of overcoming our fears, to come closer to her son with the help of the Scriptures and the Sacraments, and especially the celebration of the Mass and Confession.”
The shrine, on the shores of Mascoma Lake, provides opportunities for renewal and worship year round, including healing services and a three-day celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of LaSalette.
For more information, call 603.632.7087 or email email@example.com.
The shrine is located at 410 NH Route 4A, Enfield, New Hampshire.
The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is a ministry of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The shrine, which sits on 350 acres known as Eden Hill, offers opportunities for inspiration and devotion, including Mass, confession, the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy and Eucharistic Adoration.
Pilgrims are invited to walk the beautiful grounds and visit the many statues and candle shrines as well as the groves which offer an oasis for silent prayer and contemplation.
Several sites on Eden Hill, including the Shrine of the Holy Innocents, devoted to deceased children, offer unique memorial and devotional opportunities. The shrine also has a gift shop, as well as the John Paul II Guest House for those seeking a private, self-guided retreat at certain times of the year.
For more information, visit ShrineofDivineMercy.org and TheDivineMercy.org,call 413-298-3931, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mailing address for the shrine is 2 Prospect Hill Road, Eden Hill, Stockbridge, MA. For driving and GPS use 11 Pine St.
—Editor’s note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all Masses and events at the shrines have been postponed until further notice. Pilgrims should check the shrine website or call for updates, to check for live-streamed Masses and opportunities for prayer and prayer intentions.
—Mary Clifford Morrell
—Originally published in the Summer 2020 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.