Franciscan Media provided a book for my review. All thoughts are my own. Links are non-affiliate.
When I volunteered to review some books, 101 Places to Pray Before You Die: A Roamin' Catholic's Guide was high on my list to check out.
I love a good road trip and have fond memories of visiting shrines and beautiful cathedrals during youth group pilgrimages. We would take two weeks, travel to work somewhere for a week, visiting holy sites along the way, then go play at an amusement park before heading home.
Praying somewhere new, seeing the variety of holy, beautiful places in our country that celebrate our Catholic faith were formative, growing experiences as a teen.
If you're planning a family, individual, or group road trip, this is the guide you'll want to include in your trip planning. From Hawaii to Maine and everywhere in between, our country is filled with treasures to behold.
Here's my wish list of places I'd like to plan trips to soon. If you've been there, or you know, have a place for me to crash along the way, holler!
(1) Peosta, Iowa.
This one hails from close to my neck of the woods, and really, it's on my list to visit as soon as I have a weekend to take for a retreat. This monastery and retreat center has a guest house with twenty-two rooms, so group retreats and individual retreats are both welcome. They also offer structured retreats for those in discernment (not me - but maybe you!?)
(2) Detroit, Michigan
Assumption Grotto (pg 101)
This church has daily Latin masses, something I've never been to, but what a great pilgrimage experience for the whole family! The Gothic architecture and close proximity to other interesting Michigan sites puts this on the list as a great stop for a family trip.
(3) Fonda, New York
I've actually been to this site, and it's gorgeous. It's one of those spaces where nature and Church come together to give you a sense of what it may have been like for our early Church ancestors in this country. The shrine is an restored barn and there's a beautiful outdoor statue.
When I was there last, she was Blessed Kateri Tekawitha and I was a teen. Since then, she has been canonized and is the patron saint of my oldest, whose name means Lily, and shares her birth month with St Kateri's feast day (July 14th).
I really want to bring my girl to this place to see the shrine of her patroness. Time to break out the old Almanac and plan a road trip for a summer soon!
(4) Portland, Oregon
I am so drawn to Our Lady of Sorrows. As a child, my parents had a print of the Pierced Heart of Mary with the seven swords representing the seven sorrows. In my adult life, as sorrows have gripped me, I've sought refuge in Mary's Mantle, comforted that she knows my sorrows as a mother and woman.
Traveling to see the shrine to her sorrows is a dream trip. The sanctuary also has amazing botanical gardens and a marble replica of the Pieta! Go look at their website cover photo and tell me you don't want to join me. So strikingly beautiful.
(5) Doylestown, PA
My Polish grandmother was such a treasured part of my childhood. Visiting this shrine to Our Lady of Poland and a center for Polish culture would be a chance to visit with her heritage.
With all my grandparents deceased, presenting some of these experiences and parts of our heritage to my children has become even more treasured.
(6) Dickinson, Texas
Shrine of the True Cross (pg 194)
This shrine has a relic of the true cross. What an amazing treasure. Texas has a special place in my heart, my brother's family lived there for a number of years, one of my sisters lived there and was married there.
If only I'd had this book a few years sooner, I would have known to visit this shrine before my family moved back north! Next time Texas, next time.
(7) Champion, WI
Our Lady of Good Help (pg 214)
Living in the Midwest, I had heard vaguely of this shrine, but after reading a bit more about the healings that have been attributed to this site, it's moved much higher on the priority list to get out there.
It's also the only authenticated site of an apparition in the United States. I started looking at when we have off school for teacher in services to take a family trip north sooner, rather than later.
This book is available in paperback and Kindle.
For more quick takes, and Kelly's amazing news this week, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.