Monday, April 14, 2014

JS: Wis. state shrines draw travelers for prayer, contemplation

When Colleen Schwarzbauer visits the Our Lady of Good Help shrine outside Champion — she's led bus tours there more than a dozen times — she always experiences a feeling of "extreme peace."

She's not alone, she said.

"Other people often tell me that they have the same emotion and wish they could spend more time there," she said of the simple shrine, which was dedicated in 2010 and is set in farm fields 17 miles northeast of Green Bay in rural Brown County.

"It's out in the country with a beautiful little church and the crypt where Our Blessed Lady appeared back in 1859. They say they'd like to just be there more to pray and walk."

Schwarzbauer, whose tours include a spiritual leader, said she is also fond of the setting for the Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine in the bluffs above La Crosse.

"It's more developed than Our Lady of Good Help, but it also has the same feeling," said Schwarzbauer, who has been leading shrine tours around the world for 24 years for her company, Jerico Christian Journeys.

The Good Help and Guadalupe shrines, along with Holy Hill — located on 435 acres 28 miles northwest of downtown Milwaukee in Hubertus — are Wisconsin's three major Catholic pilgrimage sites honoring Mary. They attract tens of thousands of visitors each year, while elsewhere around the state, grottoes and minor shrines also pull in the faithful and curious.
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