Over the weekend we visited Joel’s family near Milwaukee and on Saturday headed into the city to visit the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum (a great experience for the whole family!). After several hours exploring, we made our way to Balistreri’s Italian American Ristorante for some of the best darn pizza a person can find anywhere in the United States! As we neared the restaurant, I spotted this sign from the corner of my eye.
A double take! A Marian Shrine? Joel and I always make a special effort to get to Balistreri’s when we visit his family. We’ve been eating there for years. How had we missed this before? So after our tummies were full of ‘za, we headed back to the shrine to check it out. Sure was worth it! Located in the middle of a residential setting with easy access right off busy I-94, we found the grounds to be very well maintained and peaceful.
A little history: In 1947, Dominican Sisters of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee built the shrine in response to Our Lady’s appearance at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, to three young children – Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco. Our Lady requested fasting, penance, and prayer, but most of all, to pray the rosary for peace. And what I love about this pilgrimage stop is that it’s also built as a “Rosary Shrine” with the mysteries of the rosary incorporated into the rocked structures – visitors can stop at each of the “stations” and meditate upon the mysteries. Given the shrine was constructed well before Blessed Pope John Paul added the Luminous Mysteries in 2002, there are stations for just the first three (Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious). Maybe construction is in the works for the fourth? Another piece of information that caught our attention is every Sunday evening the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet are prayed; every Monday evening (depending on priest availability), Mass is celebrated here. Hopefully we can participate in those on future visits.
We are so pleased to stumble upon this Marian Shrine tucked in a suburban corner of Milwaukee. If ever in the area, do yourself a favor and make a stop there, too! You won’t be disappointed.
More information and directions to the Shrine can be found on the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s website.