From the Shrine’s Beginnings to Today

And Jesus said, “If you have a faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to the mountain, ‘move hence to yonder place’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20.   The events that prefaced the completion of the Shrine up to its present state, are testimonies of faith in God and the veneration of Mary, the Mother of God, by those who were and are part of the history.  This Shrine was dedicated and blessed “Mary, Mother of the Church” on August 15, 1988.

Now, over thirty years later, thousands of people from forty-two United States and fifteen foreign countries have visited this quiet place of serenity.  Throughout the summer months from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day weekend, Masses are held on Saturday evening and Sunday morning.  Weddings and concerts fill the air with happiness and joy.   Pilgrimages and bus tours are welcomed throughout the year.  The annual Christmas light show brings visitors of all faiths.  Since the Shrine is located on the grounds of St. Patrick Catholic Church, the opportunity to view over 169 First Class Relics is available for guests.

The Shrine exalts the Blessed Mother and  motherhood.  The Mothers’ Wall features over 4,500 names of mothers from 42 states and 4 continents engraved on the beautiful granite walls surrounding the sculpture of Mary, Mother of the Church.

March 1984

At Mass on the first Friday of March 1984 Fr. Barnett announced to the Parishioners of St. Patrick that they would build a “grotto” outside in the ravine to serve the huge summer crowds for Mass.

June 1985

Late June of 1985 the first bulldozers began moving dirt

August 1986

August 15, 1986 on the Feast of the Assumption, the first Mass was held outside.  A rainy wet day at the start, turned into a beautiful sunny day with about 200 people attending the Mass. 

August 1988

August 15, 1988 Bishop Michael McAuliffe of Jefferson City, MO dedicated the grotto as “Mary, Mother of the Church Shrine”.

September 1992

Archbishop Keleher and Bishop McAuliffe presided as the Sculpture of Mary, Mother of the Church was unveiled by John and Elaine Fabick on Sept 13, 1992.  

December 1998

Dec 1998 the first granite wall was installed for the Mothers’ Wall

April 1999

On April 1, 1999 the first names were engraved on the Mothers’ Wall.

Spring 2000

The Altar was built for Masses to be held outside at the Shrine.

October 2000

The formal dedication of the Mothers’ Wall of Life was October 22, 2000 by Bishop John R. Gaydos, Diocese of Jefferson City.

February 2001

The Board of Directors presented a maquette (scale model) of the sculpture of Mary to Pope John Paul II in Rome on February 14, 2001.


In 2003, Archbishop James P. Keleher, Chairman of the Bishops Committee for National Shrines, and Bishop John R. Gaydos, of the Diocese of Jefferson City, announced that the Mothers’ Shrine had been designated as the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church. This was the sixteenth National Shrine designation in the United States.  

March 2018

On March 3, 2018 Pope Francis declared Mary, Mother of the Church Feast Day to be celebrated each year on the Monday after Pentecost. 

May 2018

The first Mary, Mother of the Church Feast Day was celebrated at the Shrine on May 21, 2018 with Bishop Shawn McKnight presiding.


Today the Shrine has more than 50,000 visitors a year. Our visitors constantly comment on the serenity and blessings they enjoy as they visit our beautiful grounds.