Mama Mary has a special place in the hearts of most Catholics that there are many shrines and churches dedicated to her all over the world. Most of these shrines are places where the Blessed Mother made an apparition or other miracle took place.
Most accounts of these apparitions are to children and simple, humble people. Mama Mary asks them to pray to her son, pray for sinners, do penance, pray the Rosary daily for world peace, and live holy lives in obedience to God. (Read: Mama Mary Helped Save My Niece, Now I Pray the Rosary Daily)
As My Pope Philippines dedicates the month of May to our beloved Mama Mary, here are three Marian shrines all over the world that you should not miss— should you decide to go on a pilgrimage!
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is not only a national shrine of Mexico, but it is one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Catholicism.
The site is visited by several million people every year, especially around December, to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Feast Day on December 12. She is the patroness of the Americas and of the unborn. (Read: Pope Francis Cancels Public Appearance for Immaculate Conception This Year)
The church was built in 1790 in the north of Mexico City, near the hill of Tepeyac. It is believed that the Virgin Mary has appeared there to St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin as a dark-skinned woman who spoke Juan Diego’s native language, Nahuatl.
The woman asked Juan Diego to build her a little house— a casita— on the hill and gather some flowers at the top (a strange request because no flowers grew in December.) Juan Diego did as he was instructed and found an array of Castillan roses, which the lady helped him arrange in his cloak.
As Juan Diego presented the cloak or tilma to the bishop, the flowers fell and they discovered a life-size image of the Virgin Mary on the inside of the cloak. The image is now known as Our Lady of Guadalupe. (Read: 5 Miraculous Shrines of Our Lady of Guadalupe)
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, France
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is an area surrounding the Catholic shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes in the town of Lourdes, France.
In 1858, from February 11 to July 16, a 14-year-old peasant girl, named Bernadette Soubirous, saw a vision of the Virgin Mary while playing in the stream with her sister and friend. The vision was of Mary standing next to a rose bush at the entrance to the Massabielle grotto.
“I saw a lady dressed in white, she wore a white dress, and equally white veils, a blue belt and a yellow rose on each foot.” Bernadette made the Sign of the Cross and said the Rosary with the lady.
When the prayer ended, the Lady suddenly vanished. Bernadette saw this vision 18 times and eventually, the Virgin Mary told her that a spring would appear in the are and that people will come in procession. (Read: Lourdes, France: The Most Famous Healing Shrine in the World)
Today, the shrine and the sanctuary are important pilgrimage destinations for sick pilgrims as the water that springs from the grotto is said to have miraculous healing properties.
Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Portugal
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary or Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is one of the most important Catholic shrines in the world dedicated tot the Virgin Mary. Its fame is due to the Apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary to three shepherd children: Lucia dos Santos, Francisco Marto, and Jacinta Marto.
While tending sheep in a field, Lucia and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, reported seeing a woman dressed in all white, “more brilliant than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.”
The woman called herself “Our Lady of the Rosary,” and asked the children to pray the Rosary daily for the conversion of sinners. She asked for prayer, penance, and the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. (Read: Holy Travels: Fatima, Portugal)
On October 13, 1917, a crowd of 70,000 witnessed the sun dance, spin, display in various colors, and descend on them, drying their rain-soaked clothes and the land. The Catholic church revers the importance of Our Lady of Fatima and the devotion to her Immaculate Heart