Sorrowful Mother Shrine History

The Sorrowful Mother Shrine is one of the oldest places of pilgrimage dedicated to the Blessed Mother in the Midwest and east of the Mississippi River in the U.S.A. In 1850 Fr. Francis de Sales Brunner, a missionary priest of the Most Precious Blood, built on this site a small red brick chapel in honor of the Sorrowful Mother. He did so because of his great devotion to Mary who guided him and his priests from Germany and Switzerland safely to the United States. The shrine soon became the centerpiece of the many missions and parishes Fr. Brunner founded to minister to the newly arrived German Catholic settlers in northwest Ohio. The shrine quickly became a place where people could come and “stand still and feel the presence of God.”

In 1870, a second and larger chapel was constructed replacing the original. During those years (and continuing today) pilgrims came seeking physical healings and spiritual guidance, help and comfort through the intercession of the Sorrowful Mother.

On August 15th, 1912, the feast of the Assumption, the shrine chapel burned and with it the original wood carved statue of the Sorrowful Mother Fr. Brunner brought from Germany. Within two years, the recent shrine chapel was built. A new image of the Sorrowful Mother, beautiful stained glass windows, large ceiling paintings of the seven Sorrows by Fr. Trost, C.PP.S and a bell tower adorned the new – and still existing – chapel.

To accommodate the increasing pilgrims – especially from the Catholic Ethnic communities of Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, Youngstown, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Windsor, Canada and many other places – the outdoor Pieta Chapel was constructed and dedicated in 1968. Since then it has become a devotional landmark in northern Ohio.

Newly paved walkways winding among tall colorful trees lead to 40 grottos, including the Stations of the Cross and replicas of Lourdes and the Sepulcher Grotto – favorite places of prayer and meditation. One can also catch a glimpse of various wildlife; turkeys, deer, squirrels, rabbits and birds freely roam the grounds.

If you are looking for a special and awe inspiring place to visit, make a private day of reflection, pilgrimage, or bring a group, plan NOW to visit this holy and historic shrine to the Sorrowful Mother.

Our apostolate depends solely upon free-will offerings. Please consider including the Sorrowful Mother Shrine in your Last Will and Testament. “We take with us only what we give to God” (Mother Teresa of Calcutta).