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Restoring the Shrine

Limestone weathered by nature.
The Problem

The Shrine of Our lady of the Woods was dedicated in 1955 and quickly became one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state. Today, more than 65 years later the Shrine still stands as a glorious tribute to our Blessed Mother, but the elements have taken their toll on the statues, grottos, and tons of limestone used to build the structure. 

Worker repairing deteriorated limestone.
The Project

In 2015, the parish of St. Mary Catholic Church, caretaker of the Shrine, developed and launched a comprehensive plan to excavate and address the water runoff that is damaging the grottos, replace the limestone that has become brittle over the years, repair and detail all statues,  and make other necessary improvements. The restoration is an ambitious 6-phase project estimated to cost $1.2 million.

Worker standing at the end of a hydraulic boom repairing limestone at Shrine of Our Lady of the Woods.
Phases 1-3 Near Completion

Phase 1, 2, & 3 are almost completed. The work was focused predominantly on the back side of the Shrine replacing brittle limestone, repairing statues (there is one statue left--St. John at the Crucifix as well as the Stations of the Cross plaques), addressing weather damage inside the Family Shrine and Our Lady of Czestochowa grottos, and refortifying the water barriers above them. 


Our generous parishioners and other sources have completely funded all three phases out of their dedication to this important Catholic Landmark, but other sources are needed to complete the restoration. Much remains to be done.

5-step stairway made of limestone showing age and deterioration.
Phases 4-6

The remaining phases are the most difficult and costly of the entire restoration. They include completing the repair and replacement of broken limestone on the back side of the Shrine (now completed),  the entire front of the Shrine, and the surface limestone that provides the steps and approaches to the front facade.  If funds become available, we hope to complete the front face of the Shrine in 2023 and then the steps in 2024.  

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