5 Must Visit Marian Shrines in Europe

  1. Our Lady of Walsingham, North Norfolk, United Kingdom

Our Lady of Walsingham is a Marian shrine in Walsingham, a rural town in Norfolk, England. Tradition holds that in 1061, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Lady Richeldis and mystically transported her soul to Nazareth, revealing to her the house where the Holy Family lived. Lady Richeldis then built a replica of the Holy Family’s house in Walsingham, which is referred to as the “Holy House.” Prior to its destruction in the 1500s, the shrine received countless pilgrims, to include a long list of kings and queens of England. In the late 19th and 20th century, the shrine was rebuilt and restored, and has recovered its place as a key Marian shrine.

     2. Our Lady of the Pillar, Zaragoza, Spain

Our Lady of the Pillar is considered the first Marian apparition, having taken place in the year 40 AD. Mary appeared to Saint James (or Santiago) who was evangelizing in what is now Spain to encourage him in his apostolic mission. This apparition has been a significant part of Spanish Catholic devotion dating back to the fourth century. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar is located in Zaragoza, Spain, and has been an important pilgrimage site throughout the centuries.

    3. Our Lady of Lourdes, Lourdes, France

Millions of pilgrims visit Lourdes, France each year to see the site of the 1858 apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Bernadette Soubirous. The sanctuary surrounds the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette.  This site is best known for the miraculous healings that take place after bathing in the Lourdes water, the same water that has been flowing since Mary first appeared to Bernadette.

    4. Our Lady of Torreciudad, Aragon, Spain

The shrine of Our Lady of Torreciudad is a Marian shrine located in northeastern Spain, and was built by Josemaría Escrivá. Our Lady of Torreciudad has been an important devotion in Spain since the 11th century. The shrine that stands today was built in the 20th century and remains an important pilgrimage site for Catholics.

    5. Our Lady of Fatima, Fatima, Portugal

The final site on this list is also the most recent Marian apparition. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal from May to October in 1913, in a series of visions that included prophesies and a call to repentance and praying the Rosary. These visions ended with the sun dancing across the sky, witnessed by crowds 40 miles away. The tombs of Sts. Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco rest at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Want to visit in person? Join Verso in June of 2024 on a Marian pilgrimage across Portugal, Spain, and France with Joan Watson! Click here for more information and to register.

Listen to our Podcast, In Via: Navigating the Pilgrimage of Life, hosted by Joan Watson on Apple Music, Spotify, or on our website.

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