A little bit of heaven is nestled within the Ozark hills of Missouri on 50 acres along Missouri Route 5 between Versailles and Camdenton, Missouri. About 20 miles north of Camdenton and 17 miles west of U.S. Business Route 54 at Lake of the Ozarks, The National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church is dedicated to Mary, the Blessed Mother, and to all the mothers of the world and is affectionately known as the “Mothers' Shrine.”
The mission of the Mothers' Shrine is to promote a true appreciation of motherhood, the preciousness of life, the integrity of the family, and an understanding of the Church community that gives Mary the title of Mother. The Mothers' Shrine provides faith-filled and joyful outdoor Eucharistic celebrations, pilgrimages and retreats, a serene and beautiful space for prayer and reflection, and celebrations throughout the year in honor of Mary and motherhood.
The Mothers' Shrine was designated a National Shrine by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2003. Our magnificent shrine dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Church features an awe-inspiring 14-feet stainless steel sculpture of Mary as the Mother of the Church, with her arms outstretched to welcome all to her embrace and which is positioned among beautiful fountains. The platform that holds the sculpture of Mary turns 360 degrees every four minutes, symbolizing prayer for the whole world and welcome to all pilgrims as they enjoy our grounds.
The terraced hillside surrounding the sculpture seats 2,000 and includes a permanent altar and ambo (pulpit) for Catholic Mass. Behind the altar is a three-tiered, lighted super structure of steel towers, which creates a spectacular effect. Each spring, thousands of flowers crown the grounds in honor of Mary.
Masses are celebrated outdoors for visitors to the Lake of the Ozarks each weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Online programming, group pilgrimages, retreats and tours are offered. In 2023, almost 9,000 people attended our summer Masses, and more than 3,000 pilgrims participated in one or more of our two dozen programs.
A unique offering of the Mothers' Shrine is the Mothers' Wall of Life, which features the names of mothers throughout the world engraved in the beautiful polished black granite. The Mothers' Wall of Life is surrounded by beautiful fountains, and rests at the feet of the sculpture of Mary, Mother of the Church. Names of mothers, and mother figures, living or deceased, regardless of religious affiliation, are lovingly etched on the wall two times a year. Every day we pray for the more than 5,000 women whose names have been engraved on our Wall, including the mothers of St. Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, a female minister whose congregation provided the funding, and movie star Jane Wyman.