Shrines & Retreat Centers
Why do We… Visit Shrines?
Every year millions of Catholics, as well as believers from other denominations and faiths, go on pilgrimage to a shrine. While they visit shrines for many different reasons, all pilgrims share something in common – a desire to come into closer union with God.
Many Catholic shrines have evolved either because of some significant religious event or because they house a highly revered relic or image. The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe near Mexico City, for example, recalls the apparitions of the Blessed Mother to St. Juan Diego in 1531. The Sacred Grotto in Lourdes, France was built on the site where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. The shrine at Fatima in Portugal commemorates Mary’s message of peace to the children Jacinta, Lucia and Francisco in 1917.
Shrines usually have a primary focus. Lourdes has become renowned as a place where pilgrims come to pray for healing for themselves or for a loved one. At Fatima pilgrims pray for peace – peace in the world and peace within their own hearts. The Oblates at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows invite pilgrims to pray for healing and hope – healing from the physical, emotional and spiritual pain that afflicts us all, and hope for a peaceful and more fulfilling life.
But shrines don’t have to be places of apparition, miracles or devotion to a particular saint. They can simply provide the physical and spiritual space for believers to come into the presence of God.
And once they do find God, shrine pilgrims are sent back on mission to the world.Believers understand that union with God; does not remove them from the world – rather it propels them into the very middle of it, where God’s people experience hunger, thirst, homelessness and injustice. Pope John Paul II addressed this point when he wrote that shrines are places in which “believers not only revive their faith but also become clearly aware of the duties that derive from it in the social field.”
Shrines and the Missionary Oblates
A visit to a shrine is a physical journey to a place of reverence. But more importantly, it is a stopping off point at that place within the soul where the believer can encounter God face to face. The Missionary Oblates minister at more than 50 Marian shrines on five continents, where they make the Virgin Mary known and loved.
King’s House is a ministry of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. It is located on the grounds of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows just 20 minutes from downtown St. Louis.
It is the ideal Retreat House to serve a Roman Catholic religious community of priests and brothers who are dedicated to walking with people in their search for God, especially the poor and those who find themselves “on the margins.” We welcome people of all faith traditions with warm hospitality and opportunities for spiritual growth. www.kingsretreatcenter.org
Christ the King Retreat Center
Christ the King Retreat Center is a Roman Catholic retreat center located in Buffalo, Minnesota. Our mission is to provide a place of welcome, peace, and support for people at all stages of their spiritual journey. In addition to prayer and retreat programs presented by our own staff, we are pleased to offer programs by noted guest speakers and facilitators. It welcomes non-profit groups in education and health care, as well as many churches and denominations. www.kingshouse.com
Oblate Renewal Center
San Antonio, TX
A conference, workshop and retreat center in the perfect environment for personal spiritual growth. An atmosphere of quiet, peace and hospitality radiates from this oasis of sacred ground. It is a source of strength for the mind, the body and the spirit. A place where your soul can soar while your body finds peace and refreshment. For over 45 years, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate have been offering retreats for clergy, religious and lay people, with stays ranging from several days to weeks, on the site of the new Oblate Renewal Center. It is conveniently located in north central San Antonio, near the International Airport and Interstate Highways, but exudes a sense of seclusion, natural beauty and peace. www.ost.edu/
Our Lady of the Snows
The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows offers a peaceful atmosphere on over 200 beautifully landscaped acres with full, modern facilities. With more than one million visitors each year, the Shrine has a wide array of services to keep you spiritually and physically refreshed during your visit.
The Shrine conference center in Belleville is host to wedding receptions, business meetings, banquets, and special celebrations. The Shrine Restaurant is also one of the most child friendly St. Louis restaurants in the area. A full children’s menu and affordable prices make dining here a pleasure for parents and their children. www.snows.org
St. Joseph the Worker Shrine
St. Joseph the Worker Shrine is located in downtown Lowell, in the historic district. It’s a friendly and welcoming place for those of all faiths or no faith. Visitors come here to receive the sacrament of reconciliation as well as to participate in the celebration of Mass. But many come throughout the day to be alone with the Lord in quiet prayer and reflection. www.stjosephshrine.org/about-the-shrine
Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto of the Southwest
San Antonio, TX
The spiritual center of the Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate and Oblate Missions is Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto of the Southwest, dedicated on December 7, 1941. To honor their patroness, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate of the Southern U.S. Province erected the Grotto, the most perfect replica in America of the original Shrine in Lourdes, France. Towering from level ground, it is carved from stone and shaped to resemble the cave in which the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette. Within the grotto a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes looks down upon Bernadette who is kneeling in prayer. Located on five acres, the beautiful Grotto honors two revelations of Our Blessed Mother: as Our Lady of Lourdes in the Old World and as Our Lady of Guadalupe in the New World. Both the Grotto and the Hill of Tepeyac sites welcome pilgrims from around the world and serve as eternal signs of hope for all who visit. Daily Mass is offered by the Oblate Fathers in the Eucharistic Chapel located within the Grotto. 5712 Blanco Road San Antonio, Texas 78216 www.oblatemissions.org
Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel / International Shrine of St. Jude
New Orleans, LA
In New Orleans, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel / International Shrine of St. Jude, pastor Fr. Tony Rigoli, OMI helps those who come to the parish door requesting emergency assistance with food and funds for transport. www.judeshrine.com