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Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe has been a big part of our family culture for years. So many prayers have been answered through her intercession.

This last summer, we were blessed to be able to make a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin. We were driving home to Montana from Chicago where we visited our oldest son and his sweet, little family. When we were planning our route, I know we would be making a stop in LaCrosse, specifically to visit the shrine. As it turned out, we planned our visit on the feast of St. Anne, my Confirmation saint, and her relics were going to be there to be venerated after Mass. No coincidence!

When we first set foot on the property, we knew we were in a very special, sacred place. You can feel the peace and love of Our Lady instantaneously. I was missing having our entire family together to experience the shrine as we had all been together just the day before in Chicago. That's part of a mother's heart as our "nest" is shifting with more kids grown and living away from home than living at home. This was such beautiful intention and sentiment to carry in my heart to Mass.

Every element of this shrine has purpose and meaning. The walk up the hill to the main chapel is so lush and beautiful. We were moving pretty quickly because we did not want to miss the start of Mass.

From the outside, the chapel looks pretty ordinary and plain. However, once inside, you discover that you are amongst many saints and angels! The architecture is stunning, as are the alcoves with first class relics of several saints.

After Mass, we took our time venerating all the relics and writing several prayer intentions. We then proceeded out the chapel and took in the beautiful gardens, the Rosary Walk, the Way of the Cross, and the Memorial to the Unborn. This memorial touched my heart deeply as we have lost five babies to miscarriage and trust Our Lady is tending to them, and us in our grief. The unexpected spiritual healing and peace was a blessing.

At the end of our time, we browsed the bookstore and actually ran into the founder of the shrine, Cardinal Burke. We were able to chat with him for a few moments and got a quick picture with him.

I was definitely drawn to St. Faustina's Diary and purchased a new copy for myself. I read a good portion of it as we drove the rest of the way home. One of my all-time favorite short prayers is from the beginning of book one: King of Mercy, guide my soul.

If you are ever in the area of La Crosse, Wisconsin, do yourself a favor and make time for a pilgrimage to this shrine.

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