Checking out shrine in La Crosse

September 12, 2011

Faith Outdoors

I got a chance to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe yesterday in La Crosse, Wis. I went with a group from St. Pius V in Cannon Falls. Leading the trip was Debbie Bauer, who took a group of parish youth from seventh through 12th grade. The shrine and the trip will be featured in an upcoming edition of The Catholic Spirit.

I love driving through the hilly, beautiful river bluff region of southeastern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin. They picked a great spot for this shrine, which is nestled in the hills outside  of La Crosse. It was a great way to spend a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon. I got to see everything at the site, including a beautiful church with a giant mosaic of Our Lady of Guadalupe displayed prominently behind the altar.

Our tour group attended Mass in the church, and I even got to go to confession beforehand. I had been wanting to go for a couple of weeks, and this was my chance. There were a lot of Latinos there, many of whom attended a Spanish Mass at 11 a.m.

The grounds were beautiful and laced with many statues and buildings. We took the tour inside the church, but I would have liked to have a guided tour of the whole place. It’s fascinating stuff, and one could easily spend an entire day there. I found myself wanting to come back on a weekday, when it’s quieter and I can take some time for reflection and prayer.

The ideal for me would be to come for several days, take some time for prayer, then go out and bow hunt when I’m done. But, I’m quite certain there’s no hunting allowed on the premises.

A suitable alternative would be to come when the fall colors are peaking and do my shooting with a camera. That, definitely, would be worth the drive!

About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

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