These are seven beautiful shrines that everyone should visit. The only one I have not gone to is Santiago de Compostela because I didn’t want to make the seven hour bus ride, but if I had to do it over again, I would drive anywhere to visit Compostela. I didn’t list them in any particular order and there are many more I could have added, but there is enough here to keep you captivated for a while.
1. Santo Cristo de Limpias
A shrine to the Christ in Agony, located in northern Spain a stones throw from the Bay of Biscay. This is the site of extraordinary phenomena surrounding the beautiful corpus of Christ in Agony. Between the years 1914 and 1921, the eyes of Christ closed and the mouth and eyes moved. The Limpias crucifix is actually one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. For more information, visit the Spanish website, or the Google translation.
2. The Monastery of Santo Toribio
This is the site of the “largest preserved relic of the True Cross. Santo Toribio is nestled within beautiful mountains of Cantabrian, Spain. The monastery is home to the Order of Friars Minor (O.F.M.). You can see some pictures on the official website, but the site is in Spanish and cannot be translated through Google, because the site is based on Flash. There is however some information on Wikipedia.
The shrine of Our Lady of the Cape is another beautiful setting. It is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. The first church was built and the bishop dedicated it as a shrine on May 13, 1714. In the early days, people of the area had a great devotion to Our Lady and were very faithful Catholics. However, through the years, and because of no priest, the people almost completely fell away from the faith. When they did finally receive a priest, his job was to reawaken the faith. Our Lady’s shrine shows the providential care of God for His people. Two miraculous events helped to restore the people’s faith. The first took place in 1967, when the new priest found a pig in the church, with a rosary in it’s mouth, staring at the statue of Our Lady. The second was Our Lady’s response to the prayers of the same priest. It is called the Miracle of the Ice Bridge” in March of 1879. The shrine’s official website has information about making a pilgrimage and the shrine hotel. You can read the whole story of Our Lady of the Cape in Michael’s Journal.
4. Our Lady of Covadonga
In 722, Our Lady brought victory to the Christians who were at battle with the Morrs. Victory is attributed to a statue that a hermit had hidden in one of the caves. Pelayo, and his army hid in the cave and besought the protection of Our Lady. It is said that she appeared with legions of angels, and the Morrs departed in fear. Today, there is a beautiful chapel hidden in the side of the mountain, that contains a miraculous image of Our lady of Covadonga, and above the city lies a basilica dedicated to her honor.
5. Fatima, Portugal
It is in Fatima that Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children for six consecutive months beginning in May of 1917 and concluding with the famous Miracle of the Sun on October 13 of the same year. Her message is one of repentance, penance, praying the rosary, devotion to the Immaculate Hear of Mary and offering sacrifices for sinners. Fatima is the most renowned Marian shrine in the world. It is estimated that 4 – 5 million people visit the shrine each year. The official website of the shrine has a multitude of information. EWTN has a section of their website dedicated exclusively to the apparitions Fatima.
6. Santiago de Compostela
The shrine in the resting place of the relics of St. James the Greater. It has been a major place of pilgrimage dating back to the 9th century. The pilgrims have walked to the shrine, seeking the intercession of the Apostle saint along a route called Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James). In 2010, The Way, a film directed by Emilio Estevez and staring Martin Sheen, helped to make this great shrine and pilgrimage known to a wider audience. The cathedral is also know for having the largest “Botafumeiro” or censer in the world. You can visit the official website of the Cathedral of St. James (difficult to navigate, too heavily flash based). To find information about the many routes of the Camino, visit this pilgrimage website. There is also a lot of information on Wikipedia.
7. Shrine of Our Lady of the Martyrs
Auriesville, New York is home to the Shrine of the North American Martyrs and the birthplace of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. The shrine was the site of a Mohawk village where three Jesuit missionares were martyred in the 1640’s. Fr. Isaac Jogues, Fr. Rene Goupil and Br. John Lalande. St. Kateri was born right up the street in Fonda, NY in 1656, where the Shrine of Saint Kateri is located. The shrine in Auriesville is made up of 400 acres of rolling hills. In 1931, the shrine built a church in the round, known as the “coliseum”. The coliseum can seat 6,500 people and has additional standing room for another 3,500 people. The shrines official website has a lot of great information and pictures. The Shrine of Saint Kateri is only 4 miles to the west.