Basilica and National Shrine
Our Lady of Consolation
Feastday: Augustinians observe September 4;
the Benedictines July 5.
The Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation is a minor
basilica of the Roman Catholic Church and a shrine to the Virgin Mary, operated
by the Conventual Franciscan Friars. It is located in Carey, a village in
Northwest Ohio. It was made a national shrine by the U.S. Conference of Catholic
One of the two Roman Catholic basilicas in Ohio, it is one of some 60
basilicas in the United States. It is the site of an annual pilgrimage of Roman
Catholics (primarily from the Middle East) to mark the Feast of the Assumption
of Mary, celebrated 15 August of every year. The basilica is designated as a
shrine to Our Lady of Consolation, Mary, Consoler of the Afflicted.
Devotion to Our Lady of Consolation spread to the United States, where the first
shrine was built in Carey, Ohio. A replica statue was commissioned and arrived
from Luxembourg in 1875. Cures and healings reportedly continue to take place at
the shrine to the present day.
Bishop Joseph Schrembs, first bishop of the Diocese of Toledo, invited the
Conventual Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception Province in Syracuse, New
York to take charge of the shrine. In 1919, the railroads began offering reduced
rates to Carey in summer during pilgrimage season.
In the summer of 1923 a contingent of Ku Klux Klan members arrived intent on
holding a counter demonstration to the annual procession of the eve of the Feast
of the Assumption, but ended holding a gathering on the outskirts of town.
Basilica and shrine complex
The shrine complex includes the basilica, the original 1875 wooden parish church,
the parish school, a rectory housing the pastor and other Franciscan priests, a
provincial house which houses Franciscan friars, a convent for resident and
itinerant nuns, a retreat center providing lodgings for lay and religious
pilgrims, a gift shop, and a cafeteria.
The original parish church, the first church in Carey, began construction
in 1868, under the direction of Father Edward Vatmann, pastor of St. Michael’s
in Findlay, Ohio. At its dedication, it was given the name of St. Edward. In
1873 Father Joseph Peter Gloden, pastor of the church of St. Nicholas,
Frenchtown, came to serve the parish. The faithful in Carey worked to support
the church's construction and prayed to Mary under the title of Our Lady of
Consolation. The congregation renamed the church in her honor upon its
Father Gloden, a native of Luxembourg, obtained a replica of the statue of Our
Lady of Consolation venerated in the Cathedral of Luxembourg. The wooden statue,
thirty-six inches high, depicted Mary holding the infant Christ with mother and
child dressed in ornate garments. On May 24, 1875, the statue of Our Lady of
Consolation was carried in procession to the church, from the church of St.
Nicholas, in Frenchtown, some seven miles away. It is claimed that the first
miraculous event occurred during this procession. As the procession marched, a
severe storm raged in the entire area. Throughout the seven-mile walk, not a
drop of rain touched the statue nor anyone in the procession.
The original parish church remains today and still sees daily use for early
morning Mass, as well as for special programs and devotions.
The increasing number of pilgrims necessitated a bigger church. In 1924
construction of the red-brick Romanesque church was finished. The present Byzantine-style basilica is located at the corner of Clay & West streets. The
main floor contains the narthex, the sanctuary, and the altar which maintains
its pre-Vatican II configuration, separating the celebrant from the congregation
by an altar rail and providing religious statuary and votive candles in alcoves
along both sides of the sanctuary. A choir loft containing the basilica's pipe
organ is located above the narthex overlooking the sanctuary. A second sanctuary
is located in the basement, along with confessionals for the sacrament of
reconciliation. Along the sides of the basement sanctuary, display cases show
the various items cast off by those reportedly healed, including artificial
limbs, canes, crutches, and even litters.
The nearby Shrine Park is the site of a set of Stations of the Cross that
stretches nearly a mile along the park's winding perimeter road, encircling an
outdoor altar situated under a large dome supported by four marble columns. The
dome is finished in gold and supports a statue at its apex of the Blessed Virgin
Mary which can be seen from miles away. Shrine Park serves as the destination
for the religious procession from the basilica on the Feast of the Assumption.
Our Lady of Consolation
Starting in the 2nd century, Catholics venerated Mary as Our Lady of Consolation,
one of her earliest titles of honor. The title of Our Lady of Consolation, or
Mary, Consoler of the Afflicted, comes from the Latin Consolatrix Afflictorum. It is found in the Litany of Loreto. Immigrants from Luxembourg transposed the
cult of Our Lady of Consolation to the United States.
The feast of Our Lady of Consolation is one of the solemnities not inscribed in
the General Roman Calendar, but which are observed in particular places, regions,
churches or religious institutes. Augustinians observe September 4; the
Benedictines July 5.
Endres, David J., "The Making of an American Catholic Devotion: The Shrine
of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio, 1873-1929", paper presented to
the American Catholic Historical Association Mid-year 2. Meeting held at
Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, March 28, 2014
Original Shrine", Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation
Conventual Franciscans, Our Lady of Consolation Province
Mary - Mother of Consolation", Augustinians
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