The serenity found at the Mothers’ Shrine makes this a must stop on your next trip to the Ozarks. Walk or drive among the beautiful trees, flowers and shrubs, run your hands in the soothing waters of the fountains, enjoy finding loved ones’ names on the Mothers’ Wall. A beautiful peaceful place to visit, walk, enjoy a picnic lunch in the pavilion, listen to the carillon bells, find the different countries along the Avenue of the Flags, walk the last hours of Christ life with the Stations of the Cross”.
The Mothers’ Wall has become a major attraction honoring mothers and motherhood.
All groups and buses are greeted with complimentary cake and coffee.
Visit the Shrine during the Christmas season for the Festival of Lights! Christmas is special at the Shrine with the focus on the true meaning of the season with a drive-through light display. Visitors are greeted with free Hot Chocolate and Hot Apple Cider at the Gift Shop. The event is free, of course, donations are always appreciated. Also enjoy the Enchanted Village of Lights at the City of Laurie Fairgrounds, an extensive light display within a mile of the Shrine.
The Mothers’ Wall
The Mothers’ Wall features the names of mothers throughout the world engraved in the beautiful polished black granite that surrounds the fountains. Mother, and mother figures, living or deceased, regardless of religious affiliation are included on the wall. Over 4,500 names have been engraved on our Wall including: the mothers of Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, that of a female minister whose congregation provided the funding and movie star Jane Wyman.
First-class relics of saints are displayed in the Church sanctuary. There are three classes of sacred relics. The first-class is a part of the saint’s body. The second-class is a piece of the saint’s clothing or something used by the saint, while the third-class is an object which has been touched to a first-class relic. The relics of the saints and their veneration is just another in the long line of treasures which Jesus Christ has given to His chaste bride, the Church.
The relics were donated by the family of Margaret Mary Swanson in her memory. A few notable relics are one from the True Cross, one from the Holy Shroud and one from the Crown of Thorns. Certificates of Authenticity are on file for each of the relics. Parishioners Bill Lund built the oak cases to house them and Bob O’Bryan made the Plexiglas holders for each relic.
The internationally renowned sculptor, Don Wiegand was approached by Father Barnett and John and Elaine Fabick to commission a fourteen-foot sculpture of Mary, Mother of the Church for the Shrine in early 1986. It was important to the artist that the sculpture depicted the real alive woman we know Mary to be. Elaine Fabick strongly wanted Mary depicted as the young woman she was when she gave birth to God. Don Wiegand notes, “I wanted to make this interpretation of her timeless. In my mind she would represent the whole life span of motherhood. I wanted to make her a real, live woman.” Thus Mary, as we see her here, is an ageless young woman, warm and loving, welcoming everyone to her son. She walked this earth, she held her Son in her arms, she is a mother, she is your mother.
The Statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, sculpted by Fr. Andrew John, from Spring Hill, Florida was bought by Ethel Bruning of Jefferson City, Missouri and donated to be placed at the entrance to the Church and Shrine on July 21, 2004.
Four large pools of water, adorned with fountains, surround the fourteen-foot sculpture of Mary, Mother of the Church. They glisten in the sunlight and add to the beauty and serentity of the Shrine.
Avenue of Flags
Father Barnett, founder of the Shrine, wanted people from all countries to feel welcome. He created the Avenue of Flags. Individuals can sponsor a flag from any country. There are currently 100 Nations featured in flags surrounding The National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church.
The Statue of St. Patrick
The Statue of St. Patrick, patron of the adjoining parish, is carved of Irish limestone and was commissioned by Bishop W.F. McAuliffe, S.T.D., Sculpted by Arthur J. Breen, from Dublin, Ireland. It was shipped in January 1980 but was lost in transit. It arrived at this site at 12:00 high noon on March 17, 1980, St. Patrick’s Day! The sculpture was blessed by Bishop McAuliffe on Memorial Day May 26, 1980.
The Stations of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross on the Prayer Path were moved from the second St. Patrick’s Church in Gravois Mills. Parishioner Clarence Simler built the boxes housing the Stations when the Prayer Path was built in the 1980’s. The Knights of Columbus donated kneelers in the summer of 1999. Each kneeler was donated by a member in memory of a loved one.
The St. Joseph Statue
The bronze statue of St. Joseph looks down the hill toward Mary and was dedicated March 19, 2000, St. Joseph’s Day. It was donated by Eliese Brown and family in “Memory of Joe Brown”. It was made in Italy by the Demetz Family.
The 10 Commandments
The Ten Commandments are set in stone with the eight Beatitudes on the other side.
"These words, and nothing more, the Lord spoke with a loud voice to your entire assembly on the mountain from the midst of the fire and the dense cloud. He wrote them upon two tablets of stone and gave them to me."
- Deutermony 5:22
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
- Matthew 5:3-10
Behold Thy Mother Monument
Written by Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty while in prison, our Behold They Mother Monument, donated by the Knights of Columbus, contains this beautiful inscription.
"The Most Important Person on Earth is a Mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral—a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body. “The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation”. What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?"
Old St. Patrick’s Church on Highway O
Old St. Patrick’s Church was built by nine Irish Catholics from the county of Fermanagh; a first generation German-American Catholic and a Protestant Scotsman. Tom Fitzpatrick was most instrumental in getting the church underway. He arrived in Morgan County in 1850, squatted some land, and then went back to Ireland for his family. Many of the Irish immigrants who came to the area and helped with the building of the church were neighbors and relatives of the Fitzpatrick’s in Fermanagh. Fitzpatrick started plans for the church in 1863, Later, Patrick Johnson donated 3.38 acres of land and work began in 1868. The stone was quarried on the Johnson farm and a kiln was erected on the grounds to burn limestone necessary for the mortar. The building was designed to accommodate 80 persons and was ready for worship by 1870. It wasn’t until 1883 however, that the church was dedicated. Before the erection of the church, visiting priests to the area held services in Catholic homes. In 1938 an addition was built to the church to house two nuns who gave religious instruction to the children of the area.
The church was used for weekly services until 1952, when a new church building was built in nearby Gravois Mills. The larger church was necessary to accommodate the larger crowds attending services from the Lake of the Ozarks area.
St. Patrick’s Church is now the oldest church in Morgan County. It is the oldest stone church in the three counties surrounding the Lake of the Ozarks. It was placed on the National Registry of Historical Places on March 2, 1979.
Other Places to Explore in the Area
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Park Naturalist can conduct programs. The main attractions are the ruins of the old mansion and the spring which puts forth 48 million gallons of water daily.
Casino Pier - 573-355-2020
Celebration - 573-302-0023
Commander - 573-365-2020
You can have narrated cruises or not. Call for arrangements and pricing