Rural Missouri Magazine

A place for mothers
The National Shrine of Mary

by Jim McCarty

Mothers are special people, so much so that since 1908 we have set aside a day in May in honor of all mothers. This year consider taking your mother to Laurie. Here you will find the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church named for the world’s most famous mother but devoted to all mothers.

The outdoor shrine is located on the grounds of St. Patrick’s Church, which has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It occupies a natural grotto surrounded by trees.

A large revolving statue depicting Mary as a young mother dominates the site. The 14-foot-tall stainless steel sculpture has her arms outstretched, as if welcoming all to her embrace. It towers over the black granite base on which sons and daughters have commemorated mothers living and deceased by paying to have their names inscribed in the stone.

From the base of the statue a waterfall and a fountain join the chorus of ever-present songbirds to make this a peaceful spot to relax.

This is a place to walk in solitude past the avenue of flags, to sniff the fragrance of 25,000 flowers when they are in bloom or to take part in one of the weekend services while seated on the terraced hillside.

The shrine is located just north of Laurie on Highway 5. For more information call (573) 374-6279. A Web site can be found at


Rural Missouri | June 2020 Issue

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