Mother of Mothers Shrine
Mater Christi Church and the people of the parish have always fostered a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. On Mother’s Day, 1956 the Mother of Mothers Shrine was dedicated by Samuel Cardinal Stritch (see photos below). The white Carrara marble statue that has drawn devotees from around the globe, was sculpted in Pietrasanta, Italy. This statue depicts the Blessed Virgin and Christ Child gazing benevolently upon a modern-day mother and infant and beautifully illustrates the special relationship between the Mother of Christ and mothers everywhere. Every spring the Shrine is the site of a May Crowning by students of Mater Christi School.
This statue...beautifully illustrates the special relationship between the Mother of Christ and mothers everywhere.
The decorative design on the base shows the Mystical Rose, which is a well-known symbol of the Blessed Virgin. The Mystical Rose has its five petals each of which represent a major feast that pertains to the Divine Motherhood, to Mary as Christ-bearer. The five feasts are the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, The Purification, and the Maternity.
Credit for the original design goes to Father Menarik. His vision of the complete statue was the basis for the sculpture’s formation and he closely supervised the design process. Once Father Menarik approved the Design, a block of marble of adequate size needed to be specially quarried for the statue.
Biancoduro Carrara Marble, quarried at Nord Carrara in Tuscany, Italy, was selected. Another sculptor you may have heard of patronized, these quarries—his name was Michelangelo.
This marble is, without exception, the best white marble for outdoor use, as it is very compact and will withstand the weather. To quarry a block of marble of sufficient size for this statue, a large cut had to be made in the side of the mountain. Once the cut was made on three sides, dynamite explosives were used to force the block of marble out of the mountain. As the quarry is high on the mountain and no road leads to it, this tremendous block of marble had to be transported down the mountain on skis! It was lowered to the nearest road and trucked from there to The Studios of Daprato. When it was finished, the statue was carefully packed into a case made of fresh pine logs and loaded onto express steamship Roma for delivery to New York. In New York, it was again loaded on a flat truck to be transported to the site at North Riverside, Illinois.
On Mother’s Day, May 13, 1956, Cardinal Stritch blessed the Mother of Mothers Shrine. At the time of the dedication, our Shrine was the only one of its kind in the United States.
Father Menarik was quoted as saying that it marked “one of the oldest and most beautiful relationships in Christianity, that between the Mother of Christ and mothers everywhere.” 2500 mothers attended the event. Within a year, 60,000 mothers in every state of the nation and ten foreign countries had been enrolled as members of the Shrine.
Mother's Day—May 13, 1956
"Blessed art Thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus."
Locations & Contact information
New to St. Paul VI?
Archdiocese Covid-19 Updates
Connect With Us
Search our site