Discovering Mary in the Heartland: An authentic Catholic pilgrimage in the U.S.
When most Catholics think of the word “pilgrimage,” they think of places like the Holy Land, or Rome. Some have experienced the Camino de Santiago in Spain; others have ventured to Marian shrines like Fatima and Lourdes.
But…Wisconsin? Yes, Wisconsin – the American state famous for cheese-making, beer-brewing and the Green Bay Packers, is also a Catholic pilgrimage destination.
The pilgrimage route informally known as the “Wisconsin Way” in eastern Wisconsin harbors a wealth of spiritual riches that were, up until recently, little known outside their immediate area.
Covid and its travel restrictions over the past two years have had a hand in changing that.
Now pilgrims who would ordinarily look to overseas destinations are discovering the beauty and inspiration of Catholic shrines, secluded monasteries and even a Marian apparition site within our own borders.
The U.S. does not have a native history or culture of pilgrimage. In fact, predominantly Protestant, and therefore iconoclastic, Americans never really embraced the Catholic idea of pilgrimage to holy sites. Catholicism’s reverence for the material world and tangible manifestations of faith has even been considered “superstitious” by some.
Further, the “Protestant work ethic,” solidified by the Industrial Revolution, has left our culture with the legacy of the “vacation.” People who are required by the prevailing work culture to spend most of their waking hours in the harried pursuit of income are left with only a modicum of time for recreation – literally, “re-creation”: resting and rebuilding their energy and strength for the next round of daily work.
By ITV Staff