What was it like for you? I heard mass there is beautiful.
I live a little over an hour from there, so have visited numerous times. But, I’ve only been there for mass 3 times; the inaugural, a mass with our parish priest, and one by the friars. So I’ve not really experienced it as a “pilgrim”.
The church itself is very beautiful, but getting to it is a bit of a hike, as it’s like a half mile uphill. They do have golf carts, driven by volunteers, that can bring you up there if the walk is too daunting. Oh and do watch out for rattlesnakes-there was a sign warning walkers that one had been seen along the path once.
The stations of the cross are nice as well, but outside. They are also at the top of the hill. There are a couple other “mini shrines” along the walk as well.
There is a votive chapel about a quarter of the way up to the church, where you can light a candle in memory or honor of someone. It’s tight quarters and prie dieus (sp?) are minimal in the votive chapel.
The gift shop, welcome center, and cafe are at the bottom of the hill (ie, by the parking lot). Gift store is not huge but has a decent selection. Food at the cafe is good. The volunteers at the welcome center are helpful.
If you go and are looking for something specific that the shrine doesn’t have in their shop, there is also a Catholic store, Noelkes, across from the cathedral in downtown La Crosse.
They are on winter hours, so aren’t open late into the evening. Getting to it can be a bit of a chore, as interstate goes through the area on the far noth side of la crosse, but the shrine is on the far south side. Traffic on Losey Blvd (the main artery there) can be stop-and-go at times; otherwise you have to go through downtown.
If you’re not part of a bus tour, I’d recommend going up to Grandad’s Bluff (turn west at the corner of Losey and Main) for a great view of the city. The road up, Bliss Rd, has occasional wash out issues so it might not be open. It’s also a bit of a switchback, so I wouldn’t drive it in sleet or snow. They do New Year’s fireworks from there so it may not be accessible that day. If you’re coming near the holidays, there’s also the Rotary Lights in Riverside Park after dark which is definitely worth the side trip. I believe it opens today and runs through December.
If you have any more specific questions about the shrine (or area in general), feel free to ask.
I’ve been there. It is beautiful, but off the beaten path… was it Burke that got the funding? Gorgeous
Yes it was Cardinal Burke, while he was bishop here, that got the ball rolling. I seem to remember that he was already in St Louis by the time of its opening (but don’t quote me on that).
I have strong devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and finally was able to make a visit to the Shrine last year August with a pilgrimage group from Detroit - I drove down from a convention I was attending in Minneapolis to meet them that day. It’s so beautiful and peaceful there…I loved it. And Cardinal Burke was there that day to offer the midday Mass! There are side altars to several of my favorite saints, including St. Maria Goretti and St. Faustina. The tour Chaplain offered Mass late in the afternoon, and I played several flute pieces for Mass with my Music Director accompanying on the organ. It was a truly gorgeous acoustic space to play in.
It was the highlight of my vacation to visit the Shrine, and I hope to return there eventually. If you have the opportunity to visit, don’t hesitate. It’s a wonderful example of a new church built with beauty and a traditional aesthetic. You won’t regret it.
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