Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows

The Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows

As the number of pilgrims continued to mount, it soon became necessary to build a larger chapel. Beginning in September of 1900, Father Hoehn published a monthly magazine entitled, Der Pilger (The Pilgrim). It was written, half in English, and half in German.

Collections for the new chapel began in 1902. Many of the pilgrims subscribed to the magazine, which related work in progress and plans for the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows. Proceeds from the sale of Der Pilger had amounted to several thousands of dollars, and this represented the beginning of the fund drive. See more Catholic Shrines and pilgrimages in North America

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Stations of the Cross

A way of the cross was erected in the woods on the Feast of the Seven Dolors, April 12, 1889, with approval of Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick.

As more and more pilgrims came to Starkenburg, Father Hoehn decided that more elaborate stations should be purchased with assistance from the Pilgrims. In 1900, Father Jacob Denner, a former student of Father Hoehn’s, came to spend his Christmas vacation here. While walking through the woods to the Grotto, Father Hoehn mentioned to Father Denner that he would like to get donations for this purpose.

Three days later, a letter was received from Mr. Joseph Highberger from Westphalia, Kansas. He had attended many Pilgrimages at Starkenburg, and wanted to buy new stations for the woods, to replace the very simple ones. Mr. Highberger and Fr. Hoehn went to St. Louis, Missouri, shortly after the new year 1901 to purchase the new stations. New images were purchased at B. Herder. Artist A.T. Kaletta, of St. Louis had made them.

During the summer, the stations were begun with quarry stones for the foundation and the remainder of brick. The crosses that were erected on the stations were made of wood, a condition made by the Church in order to gain indulgences. Mr. Highberger donated the images, but various pilgrims donated each of the fourteen niches.

Stations of the Cross

A way of the cross was erected in the woods on the Feast of the Seven Dolors, April 12, 1889, with approval of Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick.

As more and more pilgrims came to Starkenburg, Father Hoehn decided that more elaborate stations should be purchased with assistance from the Pilgrims. In 1900, Father Jacob Denner, a former student of Father Hoehn’s, came to spend his Christmas vacation here. While walking through the woods to the Grotto, Father Hoehn mentioned to Father Denner that he would like to get donations for this purpose.
Three days later, a letter was received from Mr. Joseph Highberger from Westphalia, Kansas. He had attended many Pilgrimages at Starkenburg, and wanted to buy new stations for the woods, to replace the very simple ones. Mr. Highberger and Fr. Hoehn went to St. Louis, Missouri, shortly after the new year 1901 to purchase the new stations. New images were purchased at B. Herder. Artist A.T. Kaletta, of St. Louis had made them.

During the summer, the stations were begun with quarry stones for the foundation and the remainder of brick. The crosses that were erected on the stations were made of wood, a condition made by the Church in order to gain indulgences. Mr. Highberger donated the images, but various pilgrims donated each of the fourteen niches.

On Sunday, August 4, 1901, Rev. P. Servatius Rasche, O.F.M., superior of the Franciscan Monastery at Hermann, blessed the new Stations of the Cross in the presence of parishioners and some Pilgrims from St. Louis. The following morning, the feast of Our Lady of Snows, a solemn Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated by Rev. Father Boehm of Dutzow, assisted by Father J.M. Denner and Father Hoehn.

For forty years they stood, until the weather began to deteriorate the soft brick structure. Some were partly eroded, others had been demolished by falling trees, but the images remained intact. They were inserted into the framework when, in 1949, under the direction of Rev. P. Minwegan, O.M.I., the stations were torn down and rebuilt of reinforced concrete. They are 13 feet high, on a base of solid concrete. This third set of Stations was blessed in 1950 by Rev. Father Coleman Borgard, O.F.M., of Hermann.

From Kansas City or St. Louis:
From I-70 Take the Highway 19 exit south for 7 miles to Big Spring. Take Highway K west 6 miles to Highway P. Go south for 4 miles to Starkenburg.
Located 75 miles west of St. Louis or 170 miles east of Kansas City on I-70.

From Jefferson City:
Take Highway 94 East to Highway P. Turn left on P. Go two miles to Starkenburg.

From Hermann:
Take Highway 19 North. Turn left (West) onto Highway 94. About 1 mile after Rhineland, turn right onto Highway P. Go two miles to Starkenburg.

The Sepulcher & Mount Calvery

In 1950, when the stations were being rebuilt, it was decided that a new shrine, in keeping with the stations, would be most appropriate. Between the first and last Stations, immediately in front of the Log Chapel, an underground Sepulcher was built.

Entering down a flight of stairs, one comes into the cave-like tomb where the statue of the body of Christ lies in death. The dankness of the underground tomb, the candles casting light amid the darkness, give the Pilgrim the real feeling of the Death Christ suffered for our sins. Here, one can kneel in meditation, and truly feel a part of the suffering and death of Our Lord.

Kneelers were erected before this Shrine, and illuminated prayers were installed.
Atop the Sepulcher was erected a “Mount Calvary” grouping. The dead Saviour’s body still hangs on the large wooden crucifix, and beneath it stand Mary, his mother, and St. John, his beloved apostle. It forms a most fitting climax to the Stations of the Cross.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows

As the number of pilgrims continued to mount, it soon became necessary to build a larger chapel. Beginning in September of 1900, Father Hoehn published a monthly magazine entitled, Der Pilger (The Pilgrim). It was written, half in English, and half in German. Collections for the new chapel began in 1902. Many of the pilgrims subscribed to the magazine, which related work in progress and plans for the Shrine. Proceeds from the sale of Der Pilger had amounted to several thousands of dollars, and this represented the beginning of the fund drive.

Blueprints for the new chapel were drawn by Professor Becker of Mainz, Germany, with Mr. John Walchshauser, an architect from St. Louis. The new chapel was indeed a labor of love, a desire to build a monument fitting to honor Our Lady. In 1906, the parishioners began to quarry stone for the chapel. Soon large piles of stones were gathered from two quarries. Many participated in the manual work, which was done mostly in the winter. Supervising their efforts were John Schluess, Ben Koenig, John Pohlman, Henry F. Van Booven, Robert Elsenraat, and Frank Eikel. Donating stone from their private quarries were William Bossman, August Daller, and Gerhard Koenig. Mr. L. Van Beek and Mr. G. Overkamp donated rocks for the foundation from their hillsides. The chapel was to be on the site of the original spot where August Mitsch had placed the White Lady. The log chapel was moved on skids somewhat to the north of its present location.

During the spring the men of the area transported the material for the foundation to the site of the chapel. On July 28, 1906, asking for God’s blessing, Father Hoehn broke ground. The site was then leveled, and excavation for the foundation begun. The first stone was lowered on October 23 on the Feast of the Holy Redeemer, whom St. Paul called, “the beginning and cornerstone.” Prayers asking for blessing of the Almighty followed a procession to the small chapel.

The foundation was completed by December 6, 1906, and during the remaining winter months ” the good people busily quarried stones and hauled sand,” wrote Father Hoehn. Enthusiasm was so high that “many helped who otherwise did not do much and who had for years remained in the background.” The cornerstone was laid on May 24, 1907, the Feast of Mary Help of Christians, by the Very Reverend O.J. Hoog. He blessed the stone and fitted it into its place on the northwest corner of the building.

After the laying of the cornerstone, the work on the structure continued at a slow pace. A great deal of technical work on the structure continued at a slow pace. Much technical skill was required, yet there were no funds to hire trained men. The few skilled men who cut and fitted the stone on the spot deserve credit for sticking to their job in spite of the meager wages. Gallant workers included Bernard Scheppers and John Fork of Wardsville, Missouri; William Kolkmeyer, Henry Lammers, and Joseph Weible of Westphalia, Missouri; John Stemmer of St. Louis, Missouri; and, John A. Struttman, Walter Koenig, George Lohmann, and Adam Denner, of the parish. The winter of 1908 was cruelly severe, yet “shortly before the Holy Christmas festival, the chapel was under roof. Deo Gratias!” wrote Father Hoehn.

Two more years passed from the laying of the cornerstone to the dedication of the chapel. Then, on July 16, 1910, on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a large copper cross measuring seven feet in length, “was fastened to the steeple of the chapel,” wrote Father Hoehn with a triumphant air. On the eve of the Feast of the Assumption, the statue of the Sorrowful Mother was transferred to the side altar, Her new home in the stone chapel.

Posted in North America and United States