Monday morning before we left La Crosse, we visited the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe outside town. The ride gave us beautiful views of farms, forest, and rolling hills where we saw contoured farm fields. All was lush and green. We found the shrine without any trouble although we weren't too confident in the Garmin after our failed search for the Shrine to the Sorrowful Mother in Ohio.
We were hardly prepared to find the magnificence in store for us at here in La Crosse.
The main church is glorious with rose-colored marble columns supporting a baldacchino over the
altar. The paintings, statues, and stations in the church are beautiful, but it was the bronze statues and stations outside that really lifted my heart to God. There's a shrine to Blessed Kateri and a garden dedicated to the unborn with a large statue of Mary holding three tiny babies on her lap, a modern pieta. The rosary walk had four curved walls along the way depicting each set of mysteries. The individual mysteries were blue and white tiles. The coronation of Mary showed her over the earth with North and South America clearly visible on the globe and the moon and stars over her head, a powerful image of her as Queen of the Americas and Queen of the Universe.
St. Joseph the Worker
One of my favorite statues was in front of the main church. It showed Juan Diego before the bishop who is kneeling in front of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Juan's tilma. What a gesture of humility on the part of the bishop to kneel at the feet of Mary's messenger, her humble servant Juan. At the foot of the tilma are the roses he has brought to the bishop. I also loved the sculpture of St. Joseph the Worker.
We attended the noon Mass and were pleased when Communion was distributed at the altar rail. The acoustics in the church are wonderful for amplifying the singing, but it was hard to understand the sermon because of the echo, the only disappointment of our visit. I imagine it isn't a problem when the church is full. After several hours we pulled ourselves away so we could make our next stop in Luverne, MN before dark. We bid a fond farewell to Wisconsin with the firm intention of returning again. Our Lady of Guadalupe and Mother of the Americas, pray for us.