National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows

National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, 442 S Demazenod Dr, Belleville, Illinois, Združene države Amerike

Website of the Sanctuary

+1 618 397 6700

Grounds Open daily from 6.00 am – 10.00 pm

The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois, is one of the largest outdoor shrines in North America.

Located just 15 minutes from downtown St. Louis, the Shrine provides an atmosphere where guests of all faiths have the opportunity to deepen their relationship with God and one another.

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate welcome over one million visitors per year.

See more Catholic Shrines and pilgrimages in North America.

See top 15 Catholic shrines in the world

Sacred Spaces of Our Lady of the Snows 

Main Shrine/Amphitheatre

The impressive Main Shrine is situated at the base of a natural outdoor amphitheatre. In addition to the permanent seating, the grassy slopes of the Amphitheatre can accommodate several thousand people.

The Outdoor Altar’s graceful contour, enhanced by the talents of several artists, echoes the structural harmony and artistic integration found in Europe’s Renaissance cathedrals.

  • Christ the King Chapel,
  • the Chapel of Santo Niño de Cebu and
  • the Rosary Courts are integrated into the Main Shrine area.

A massive steel framework was built. Wet cement was sprayed over the entire structure to form a shell. Rising gracefully from the concrete shell is a 50′ concrete “M” which stands for Mary, the Mother of Jesus. A 70′ spire rises from the apex of the symbolic “M” serving as a beacon guiding visitors to the magnificent setting.

Three circles, representing the Holy Trinity, surmount a bronze cross. A bronze dove in downward flight is at the base of the spire, symbolizing the Holy Spirit.

Lourdes Grotto

Located in a beautiful, wooded area, the Lourdes Grotto was among the first devotional sites completed at the Shrine. It is a replica of the famed Lourdes Grotto in France where Our Lady appeared in 1858 to a young, peasant girl named Bernadette Soubirous.

Today, the Lourdes Grotto is beautifully landscaped with flower gardens, trees and shrubs and has been a favourite devotional site for pilgrims visiting the Shrine. A secluded altar is set within the Grotto for the occasional Mass, devotional service or wedding ceremony.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Hill

Our Lady of Guadalupe Hill, located behind the Annunciation Garden, depicts the appearance of the Blessed Mother to Juan Diego, a recent convert to Christianity, at Tepeyac Hill in Mexico in 1531. This site, dedicated in 2005, honors Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Annunciation Garden

The Annunciation Garden stands majestically on a hill overlooking the Main Shrine. The larger-than-life sculptures of the Blessed Virgin and the Angel Gabriel are mounted on a stone wall. It is located at the highest elevation of the Shrine, affording a panoramic view of much of the Shrine property.

Sacred Spaces

Main Shrine/Amphitheatre
The impressive Main Shrine is situated at the base of a natural outdoor amphitheatre. In addition to the permanent seating, the grassy slopes of the Amphitheatre can accommodate several thousand people. The Outdoor Altar’s graceful contour, enhanced by the talents of several artists, echoes the structural harmony and artistic integration found in Europe’s Renaissance cathedrals.

Christ the King Chapel, the Chapel of Santo Niño de Cebu and the Rosary Courts are integrated into the Main Shrine area. A massive steel framework was built. Wet cement was sprayed over the entire structure to form a shell. Rising gracefully from the concrete shell is a 50′ concrete “M” which stands for Mary, the Mother of Jesus. A 70′ spire rises from the apex of the symbolic “M” serving as a beacon guiding visitors to the magnificent setting. Three circles, representing the Holy Trinity, surmount a bronze cross. A bronze dove in downward flight is at the base of the spire, symbolizing the Holy Spirit.

Lourdes Grotto
Located in a beautiful, wooded area, the Lourdes Grotto was among the first devotional sites completed at the Shrine. It is a replica of the famed Lourdes Grotto in France where Our Lady appeared in 1858 to a young, peasant girl named Bernadette Soubirous.

Today, the Lourdes Grotto is beautifully landscaped with flower gardens, trees and shrubs and has been a favorite devotional site for pilgrims visiting the Shrine. A secluded altar is set within the Grotto for the occasional Mass, devotional service or wedding ceremony.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Hill
Our Lady of Guadalupe Hill, located behind the Annunciation Garden, depicts the appearance of the Blessed Mother to Juan Diego, a recent convert to Christianity, at Tepeyac Hill in Mexico in 1531. This site, dedicated in 2005, honors Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Annunciation Garden
The Annunciation Garden stands majestically on a hill overlooking the Main Shrine. The larger-than-life sculptures of the Blessed Virgin and the Angel Gabriel are mounted on a stone wall. It is located at the highest elevation of the Shrine, affording a panoramic view of much of the Shrine property.

From Northern Illinois: Take I-55 south to I-255 south (just south of the Collinsville exit), take I-255 south to IL State Highway 15 east (exit 17A), go 1 mile & Shrine is at the top of the hill on the right-hand side.
From Southern Illinos: Take I-64 west to I-255 south, take I-255 south to IL State Highway 15 east (exit 17A), go 1 mile & Shrine is at the top of the hill on the right-hand side.
From Downtown St. Louis, MO (and West County): Take I-64 east across the Poplar St. Bridge to I-255 south, take I-255 south to IL State Highway 15 east (exit 17A), go 1 mile & Shrine is at the top of the hill on the right-hand side (15 minutes from downtown St. Louis).
From South County, St. Louis, MO: (also approaching St. Louis on I-55 north or I-44 east): Take I-270 south, (I-270 changes to I-255 in the vicinity of I-55), continue on I-255 north into Illinois, take IL State Highway 15 east (exit 17A), go 1 mile & Shrine is at the top of the hill on the right-hand side.
From North County, St. Louis, MO: (also approaching St. Louis on I-70 east): Take I-70 east across the Poplar St. Bridge to I-255 south, take I-255 south to IL State Highway 15 east (exit 17A), go 1 mile & Shrine is at the top of the hill on the right-hand side.
From Chicago, IL: 1-55 South to I-255 South, Exit 17A
From Indianapolis, IN: I-70 West to I-55 South to I-255 South, Exit 17A
From Louisville, KY: I-64 West to I-255 South, Exit 17A
From Memphis, TN: I-55 North to I-270 South to I-255 North, Exit 17A
From Branson, MO: I-44 East to I-270 South to I-255 North, Exit 17A
From Kansas City, MO: I-70 East to I-270 North to I-255 South, Exit 17A

  • Weekdays 7:30 & 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturdays 7:30 a.m., 5 p.m. (May 14, 21 and 28
    Lourdes Grotto, weather permitting)
  • Sundays 9:30 & 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. (Spanish)
  • Healing Mass 7 p.m. – Spanish – 1st Wednesday of every month

Our Mother of Perpetual Help Mass and Novena in the Chapel of Santo Niño de Cebu 6:30 p.m. – 1st Wednesday of every month

Devotion to Our Lady of the Snows

Usually, when one talks about devotion to the Mother of Jesus under a particular title, there is a link, either to one of Mary’s qualities (Sorrowful Mother, Mother of Mercy) or to one of her apparitions (Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Guadalupe). Devotion to Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Snows is one of the oldest devotions to Mary. It has direct ties to the legend about a marvelous snowfall in Rome in 352 A.D. Mary had indicated in a dream to a wealthy, childless Roman couple that she wanted a church built in her honor and the site for this church would be covered with snow. On a hot, sultry morning on August 5, Esquiline Hill was covered with snow.

All Rome proclaimed the summer snows a miracle, and a church to honor Mary was built on the hill in 358 A.D. Restored and refurbished many times, this church, now the magnificent Basilica of St. Mary Major, still stands today as the seat of devotion to Our Lady of the Snows in the Catholic Church. However, Our Lady of the Snows is honored here, not so much because of the legend, but because of her special role in the Church that is by its very nature, missionary.

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate – the congregation of priests and brothers who operate this Shrine – following the inspiration of their founder, St. Eugene de Mazenod – have always called on Mary as their principal patroness, one who looks upon their missionary efforts with a mother’s love.

National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows

The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois, is one of the largest outdoor shrines in North America. Located just 15 minutes from downtown St. Louis, the Shrine provides an atmosphere where guests of all faiths have the opportunity to deepen their relationship with God and one another.

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate welcome over one million visitors per year.

Location of the Shrine

As devotion to Our Lady of the Snows grew, the Oblates decided to look for a location for a shrine to be built in her honor. The search for a suitable site ended in February, 1958 with the purchase of 80 acres of farmland on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River Valley. It seemed an ideal location for the proposed National Shrine of Our Lady of
the Snows.

A newly formed Layman’s Association enabled lay men and women to take an active part in the development of the Shrine. The purchase of 20 additional acres became a reality through the generosity and dedication of the association. In the summer of 1958, work on the Shrine began.

It was important that the Shrine be an exceptional example of modern architecture, and that the devotional sites be strategically placed throughout the Shrine’s acreage. The landscape architect, Emmet Layton, enhanced the natural beauty of the site by directing the planting of trees, shrubs and flowers at carefully selected spots.

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate is one of the largest religious congregations in the world. Their mission is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Founded in France by St. Eugene de Mazenod in the year 1816, the order has grown to 4,000 priests and brothers today serving in 60 countries around the globe.

Calvary of Christ Oblates first arrived in North America in 1841. Referred to as the Cavalry of Christ, they often rode horseback as a means of travel while establishing missions in this untamed land. While their primary dedication will always be of a spiritual calling, they reach out to those in need of physical, emotional and or spiritual support through their sincere acts of charity.

Posted in North America and United States