MARIA STEIN — On Dec. 8, 2017, the Sisters of the Precious Blood gathered in the Adoration Chapel of the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics to sign the transfer of land deed to laity. This process began nearly a decade ago and was solidified in October 2016 when the Sisters announced their intent for the future of the landmark.
“After nearly ten years of planning and with the help of many people from the local area, the Sisters of the Precious Blood know that the ministry of peace, prayer and hospitality at the Shrine will be able to continue into the future without the direct involvement of the Congregation,” said Sister Joyce Lehman, C.PP.S., president of the congregation.
The Shrine dates to 1846 and was the original motherhouse of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. It is the last of 10 foundations established by Missionary of the Precious Blood Father Francis de Sales Brunner. Many of these were located in the Land of the Cross Tipped Churches. The Sisters of the Precious Blood came with Father Brunner from Switzerland in the 1840s to minister to the German-speaking immigrants in west-central Ohio.
Today the Shrine is home to the second-largest collection of holy relics in the United States. The relic chapel, dedicated in 1892, has more than 1,000 relics including those from all four Gospel writers and all the faithful disciples. The finalization of the deed transfer on December 8th held great significance to the Sisters and Shrine staff.
“Dec. 8 is an important date for the life of the Church. It celebrates the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the first follower of Christ. The Maria Stein Shrine is named for Mary of Rock, so it is fitting that an important Marian feast has been chosen to celebrate this unique moment in this Marian Shrine’s history,” said Matt Hess, coordinator of Ministries & Hospitality for the Shrine.
Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, assumed responsibility and operation of the Shrine on Dec. 8, 2017. For generations, many families have been part of the Land of the Cross Tipped Churches and the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics. This is an opportunity to help keep the relics in Maria Stein and preserve this beautiful, sacred space for centuries to come.
“The letting go of such an important part of our history is difficult but is made possible knowing that the MSS Board of Directors and the administrator and staff at the Shrine are committed to keeping the Shrine a place where the faithful and seekers can find inspiration from the lives of those men and women who lived and died in service to God. The Sisters are grateful to all who have helped make this happen”, stated Sister Joyce.
The Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics provides opportunities for prayer, pilgrimage and inspiration from the lives of the saints. People from around the world visit the shrine to explore and enjoy this environment rich in holiness and history.
“It is a humbling and awesome responsibility for us to follow in the Sisters’ footsteps by accepting the duty of care for the Shrine,” said Don Rosenbeck, president of the Shrine. “We will continue to maintain it as a holy place for the faith nourishment and spiritual renewal of people from near and far”.
The Shrine is located at 2291 St. John’s Road in Maria Stein. To learn more about the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics, visit www.mariasteinshrine.org.