Rev. David Endres, Assistant Professor of Church History and Historical Theology at the Athenaeum of Ohio, recently presented a paper for the American Catholic Historical Association entitled, “The Making of an American Catholic Devotion: The Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio, 1873-1929.” Fr. Endres drew on archival research to explore the phenomena of Marian devotion at the Shrine in Carey.
The paper is presented here for the reader’s edification.
Catholic Knights of Ohio standing in front of the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, Carey, Ohio, 1922. (Courtesy of the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation)
(Courtesy of the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation)
The town of Carey in northwest Ohio is located half a world away from Lourdes, Fatima, and Knock – all places of pilgrimage where miracles and healings have reportedly occurred through the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercession – yet like the others, for decades those who have experienced cures or spiritual favors have contended that “Mary chose Carey.” Carey, a town birthed by the railroad in 1858 and situated along the tracks connecting Lake Erie to the Ohio River, was an unlikely location for the development of one of the most significant Marian shrines in the U.S., the National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation. An unassuming town, populated largely by farmers of Germanic ancestry, Carey never had a Catholic majority. At the shrine’s founding, only two dozen Catholic families resided among predominately Protestant neighbors. And while Carey’s Catholic minority did not often face overt discrimination, the kind of devotion celebrated at the shrine and the reported healings there evoked a skepticism shared, at least at first, by many, non-Catholic and Catholic alike.
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