Minnesota, NOrth DAkota, and SOuth Dakota
This list of Pilgrimage Site are the Verso Ministries Top Pilgrimage Sites in Region 8. The Regions that will be used for all of our lists are based off of the Regions used by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) and used for the Bishop Conferences. These resources are here for Youth Groups, Young Adults, and Individuals to be able to find local sites to go on Pilgrimage to.
1) Saint John’s Abbey
Founded in 1856, this Benedictine Monastery shares its grounds with their higher education facilities of Saint John’s University as well as their college and major seminaries. Being a location of great education they are also home to the famous Liturgical Press publishing company. For anybody looking to make a pilgrimage to this site, I strongly encourage you to plan to either make it a weekend long trip or plan to come back again. The sprawling grounds have so much to offer for all visitors and the opportunities for what you can do are boundless. Join the monks for their daily prayer, walk along their miles of trails, and enjoy the beauties of their wooded campus. But above all else, make sure to visit The Saint John’s Bible, a beautifully illustrated and handwritten Bible which is always on display to the public. I strongly encourage, if you have the opportunity, to enter into the spiritual practice of Vizio Divina (similar to Lectio Divina, but with images instead of words) while you are faced with this enormous work of the Word of God.
Address: 2900 Abbey Plaza, Collegeville, MN 56321
2) House of Mary Shrine
Originally designed to be built as a place of retreat for Carmelite monks, plans were changed for this small Shrine in South Dakota. In 1970, the owners of the property approached the Bishop of Sioux Falls asking permission to build a shrine in honor of Mary within the diocese. Slowly but surely what had started as a small log cabin was accompanied by three crosses on the hill as well as statues to St Joseph and the Blessed Mother. Devoted to Mary, this is the perfect Shrine for all who have a Marian devotion within the Plain States as there is a serenity and a sense of the loving comfort of a mother’s arms for all who travel here.
Address: 142 Drees Dr, Yankton, SD 57078
3) Cathedral of Saint Paul and The National Shrine of the Apostle Paul
(St Paul, MN)
In the heart of the Twin Cities stands the Cathedral of Saint Paul which hosts the National Shrine of the Apostle Paul. In 1841 the original log chapel was built and named after Paul, the Patron of Missionaries and Evangelists. By 1850, the Diocese of St Paul is founded and in 1907 the cornerstone of the Cathedral is finally put into place. Today, the Cathedral is the holder of a “spiritual affinity” to the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, even receiving a stone from the Tomb of Saint Paul. Weekly guided tours are offered at 1:00 PM on Tuesday - Friday, however the Cathedral is open to anyone to visit at any time. The Cathedral itself is a stunning piece of architecture in which you will easily get lost admiring every little archway and tile. However, being the national shrine, I strongly encourage you to get your head out of the clouds and take some time as well to pray for the intercession of St. Paul in order to respond to Pope Francis’ call to us to be missionary disciples.
Address: 239 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102
4) Theodore Roosevelt National Park
This National Park has the particular privilege of being named after the man who founded the National Park Services. Theodore Roosevelt National Park finds itself on the border between North Dakota and Montana. It is in these lands, in which no city lights are able to distract you, that an encounter with God will surely take place. In the silence, away from all of the worldly noise, your heart cannot help but be opened to the one who made you and the rest of Creation. So go camp out in the backwoods, hope to find some bison, and enjoy the opportunity for contemplation and group bonding. I strongly encourage anyone who can to take this pilgrimage in the veins of St John Paul II and the patron of Verso, Bl Pier Giorgio. Just as they entered into the natural world to be closer to God, so too should we do the same.
5) National Shrine of Saint Odilia
Saint Odilia is a 4th century Saint who in the year 300 headed from England with ten other women in order to take a pilgrimage to the lands of the New Testament. However, they were captured in present day Germany and put to death on account of their faith and in defense of their own purity. In 1287, Saint Odilia appeared to a Crosier brother telling him the location of her relics in Germany. Upon their discovery, many miraculous healings were attributed to her intercession, building up the faith of the French and the Belgians even more strongly. In 1958, a first class relic of Saint Odilia was brought to the Crosier community in Onamia, Minnesota and it has become a centerpiece of their lives ever since. Pilgrims are encouraged to come and ask for the intercession of St Odilia for spiritual and even physical healing. They even have the practice of dipping the relics into water in order to bless it, asking God to give it powers for healing. I strongly encourage everyone who has the opportunity to make a visit to this Shrine in order to find the intercession of this miraculous Saint either for yourself or for others in your life!
Address: 104 Crosier Drive, Onamia, MN 56359