MARIA STEIN — After 170 years of ministry in Mercer and Auglaize counties, the Sisters of the Precious Blood turned to laity to secure the future of the landmark Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics. The sisters transferred the deed for the building and 24 acres of land to the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics, an established 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, which now manages the operations of the shrine.
The Legacy Fund was established in late 2016 to help support and continue the ministries at the Shrine for future generations. It was determined that a $6,000,000 fund would generate the earnings needed to replace the annual gift the Sisters made toward the ministries of the Shrine.
The first $2 million was donated by the Sisters of the Precious Blood. An anonymous donor came forward pledging to match all gifts up to $2 million by Dec. 31 2017, leaving the Shrine to raise the remaining $2 million.
“Embarking on a fund raising campaign of this magnitude was something that the Shrine had never done before. The Sisters were very sensitive to how the community would feel about the transfer agreement” said Diana Russell, director of Fund Development, “because it would require their stewardship to secure the legacy.”
The Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics was established in 1846 as the Sisters of the Precious Blood original motherhouse. The money generated from the Legacy Fund Campaign will now work as an endowment fund and the earnings from it will replace the operating funds donated by the Sisters each year.
“Maria Stein and Mercer County, God’s country, is a very meaningful and important place to the Sisters of the Precious Blood,” said Sister Joyce Lehman, president of the congregation. “It is an honor to know that this historical Shrine will be managed by people of this area.”
A gift of $2,500 or more gives donors the opportunity to have their names and pictures displayed on a digital donor wall on the Shrine’s main floor. Many families have donated in memory of a loved one, as well as many area businesses. All gifts are tax-deductible and remain local.
“The support of the community in reaching the $2 million goal is affirming, considering the number of other worthy causes running capital campaigns over the same time period” said Don Rosenbeck, president of the Shrine, “People have been incredibly generous for which we are most grateful.”
Donating to the Legacy Fund will continue in 2018, as will the donor wall. The only thing that will not continue is the matching gift offer, Russell noted, which expired with the New Year.
“We want to shout ‘thank you’ from the roof tops! God provided through the generosity of our community and from others all over the country. We were moved and humbled by the stories you shared and love you displayed for the Shrine. We look forward to 2018 with an inspired faith to the wonderful responsibility the Sisters of the Precious Blood have entrusted to us,” Russell said.
The Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics provides faith nourishment and spiritual renewal through opportunities for prayer and 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.
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.