The kids and I knew we wanted to take a trip….a short one…built around some kind of Catholic site. You see, I have four kids left at home and and it won’t be long until this changes… as one thing I have found as a Mom…life goes on and your kids leave. So we told ourselves that we have to do this before someone leaves the nest!
Anyway, we wanted to do a quick trip. My husband likes to stay home and look after the house, his flourishing mushrooms and also my sister, who lives in an apartment at the back of the house. He doesn’t actually “look after her”, as she is quite independent. But he is here if she needs him.
So we decided to make our destination the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI which was built 15 years ago by Cardinal Burke. The girls had been there once on their way home from Minnesota and they felt it was well worth going again! We knew there was a Latin Mass on Sunday.
So that’s what we did! And we had many blessings along the way.
If you have any suggestions on other lovely Catholic places to see not too far away from Kansas…let me know! Right now, though, the kids are preparing for their Rome trip in October. They have worked all year for it and are excited about it…I am nervous for them…that’s what mothers are for, right?
Anyway back to our little trip to Wisconsin…
We made it a sort of “pilgrimage” where we said 3 rosaries a day, stopped at a church each day in our travels, and well, generally made it spiritual-centered. Each church we stopped at on Thursday, Friday and Saturday had Exposition. What a blessing!
Our Airbnbs were lovely (well, a couple of them were) and I usually found a quiet nook to say my Morning Prayers as the birds were chirping and the kids were still “sawing logs”.
Here is the back of the first place we stayed. The little town reminded us of Mayberry. It was Swisher, IA. The townsfolk hadn’t woken up when I was down saying my prayers in this back little area.
Here is the backyard of the Airbnb where we stayed in Des Moines, IA on the way home….Lovely!
Oh and I forgot to mention….my vehicle was acting up before the trip. So we were wondering what to do…should we borrow? I have several married children that would have been happy to let us borrow their vehicle.
Through some unforeseen circumstances, a kind soul rented us a beautiful SUV for the trip. It was quite a surprise! Needless to say, this person was prayed for and many things offered for him on that trip!
We all went for a Steamboat Ride along the Mississippi River on Saturday. That was special. The bridge opened up for us to pass through.
The kids went kayaking on the Mississippi on Monday. Here the kids are about to walk across the bridge over the River.
Cute, Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Shoppe we hit just before bedtime…
A Convent in La Crosse that house the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.There are only a few nuns left there. It is sad as it is a most beautiful and grandiose convent! The Blessed Sacrament revolves from the Sanctuary to a little Adoration Chapel in the back. That’s where It was when we visited. Oh for the Restoration!
Side shrine at the Basilica in La Crosse.
Each night before bed we went to a little Adoration Chapel to say our night prayers. We wouldn’t have known about it because it was so hidden. It was in the middle of downtown and not far from where we were staying. The lady from the Gift Shop told us about it.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine ~ La Crosse, WI
On Sunday, we spent seven hours at the Shrine. It is quite a beautiful place with many wonderful Catholic nooks and crannies where holy things are venerated.
When you get to the Shrine, the gift shop and information center is at the bottom. This is where you park your vehicle. Then you walk the long, winding road up to the Church. It takes about 15 minutes to get up there and along the way there are many surprises. Beautiful little shrines dot the way up to the Church. And you can veer off the path and do the Stations of the Cross which are built into the woods. Or you can veer another way and do the Rosary Walk.
If you don’t feel up to doing the long uphill walk, there are volunteers that give rides up and down the hill all day long every day of the week…in golf carts. They have many people at the Shrine that volunteer their help for Our Lady.
There is a Votive Candle Chapel where you can light a votive candle for your intentions. The candles are watched and lit fastidiously and since I donated for a candle that would last 3 months, it will be replaced and relit (one candle lasts about 7 days) for the full three months. You will see pictures below.
The time of year we were there, it is like a botanical garden as a backdrop for all the wonderful Catholic artworks. Quite impressive!
Click on the gallery below: