from National Director John Wilson …
In Saint Charles, Missouri, there is a roadside shrine called Our Lady of the Way: it is believed to be the only one in the world dedicated to the Virgin Mary under this title. It is maintained by the AOH of St. Charles County and has the names of their deceased members of the Division on bricks along the pathway to the Shrine. In addition, there are bricks dedicated to Irish Saints and Feast Days of our Blessed Mother.
The AOH took over the duties of the Shrine 10 years ago after reading a newspaper article about the Shrine and the original builders stating they were too old to maintain it anymore. It was originally built in 1955 by twenty-five volunteers, all laymen, at the intersection of the two major highways, about eight miles west of Saint Charles, Missouri. The original idea was to build the shrine in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, but Monsignor A. T. Strauss from St. Peters Parish in St. Charles who was asked about it, suggested that it be called Our Lady of the Way instead. Now it is fondly referred to as “Our Lady of Missouri.” The Shrine faces Interstate 70, in the town of Saint Peters, off Suemandy Road in Saint Charles County. It was originally located about a mile to the west of its present location following in part the route of Boone’s Lick Road, which was for 40 years the major overland road leading to the great American West.
The Shrine consists of the Virgin Mary by this title, vases of flowers on both sides and a large book below her feet with the inscription “Our Lady of the Way is the patroness of all who travel along the roads of the world and on the seven seas. Who art thy way the truth and the life, grant us in thy mercy that through the intersession of the Blessed Mary, thy Virgin Mother we may run the way of the commandments and reach unto eternal life.”
When the AOH first took over the Shrine it had been vandalized with graffiti all over it. After cleaning this up, the statue itself was professionally restored and painted by Restoration Plus, LLC. The stonework was tuck pointed, a roof and lighting was added the Shrine. After the Shrine was completely restored, the AOH signage was affixed to the stone work. The members take turns weeding, planting, trimming and picking up debris around the parking lot to maintain it.
Feast Day is August 11