Blog

Our Lady of the Ozarks

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program - Monday, June 17, 2019

 

In 1954 approximately 3,000 people are reported to have made a pilgrimage to a remote shrine in the heart of the Boston Mountains. This shrine is located in Winslow at Our Lady of the Ozarks, a Catholic mission/shrine founded in 1944 on land donated by Miss Clara Muxen, a nun who relocated to the Ozarks with her family from Iowa. In May of 2019, 75 years after being founded, Our Lady of the Ozarks was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This listing will help to preserve this unique landmark nestled in the Ozarks for pilgrims, worshipers, and tourists into the future. 


“The shrine of Our Lady in the picturesque Boston Mountain range between Fort Smith and Fayetteville, has long been a place of pilgrimage for both Arkansans and out-of-state visitors,” The Guardian, 1963. 


Muxen’s gifts went beyond land. She provided ornamentation for the church which led to its designation as a shrine. What sets a shrine apart from a regular church, according to Catholic Church canon, is a shrine is a sacred place approved by a bishop and visited by pilgrims. There are several key sculptures on the property including Saint Therese The Little Flower, Christ Crucified, Christ Resurrected, and Saint Anthony de Padua. 

Muxen named the mission Our Lady of the Ozarks in honor of The Virgin of the Smile, a statue inspired by the story of Saint Therese, a 19th century youth from Lisieux, France, who was cured of illness by a vision of Mary who appeared to her and smiled. Saint Therese is the Patroness of Missions so it is fitting that her story be interwoven into that of this mission. The statue of The Virgin of the Smile was created by DePrato Studios in Chicago and can still be seen at the site today.
Before the construction of Our Lady of the Ozarks, Catholics in the Boston Mountain region of northwest Arkansas had little access to church services. After an effort by local women to organize a parish, the Diocese of Little Rock formed Our Lady of the Ozarks and parishioners established a small mission near Winslow. In 1944, the parish began building the current native stone church and established a Marian (Mother Mary) statue on the front lawn. Over a two-year period, the parish added more statues to the grounds and finished the original plans for the church. Bishop Alfred Morris officially dedicated the shrine in August of 1946.

Since its inception as the first Marian shrine in Arkansas, Our Lady of the Ozarks has remained a prominent shrine and has served as an annual destination for Catholic pilgrims. 

You can view video from the 1949 pilgrimage event at Our Lady of the Ozarks at: https://youtu.be/iDCk9LcAPsM 


Sources: National Register Nomination Form authored by Ralph Wilcox and http://ourladyoftheozarksshrine.org/

 



Recent Posts


Tags

Henry Koen Office Building Stearns/Gehring Chapel Cemetery Pope County Courthouse News Release Cemetery Preservation Library St. Francis County Historical Society Bogg Springs Hotel Buffalo National River Mississippi Main Street Association Tolbert Gill Burdette Plantation Houston Methodist Episcopal Church South Huntsville Arkansas Free Cemetery Preservation Workshops Montgomery County Courthouse Three States Lumber Company historic architecture Helena Arkansas Leake-Ingham Building Conway County Library Historic Preservation Restoration Grants Houston Arkansas Main Street Texarkana Parker-Hickman Farm Historic District Pike County Arkansas Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council Civil Works Administration American Legion Rosenwald Schools free teacher resources Downtown Revitalization Grants Folk Victorian Architecture U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas Bogg Springs Arkansas downtown revitalization Poinsett County Arkansas Free Lesson Plan Russellville Arkansas Doddridge Arkansas 19th Century Road Construction Arkansas Historic Preservation Camden Public Library Mississippi County Arkansas Forrest City Cemetery African American education Let Freedom Ring Skillern House Camden to Washington Road Duck Hunting Arkansas History Lesson Plans Elias Camp Morris 13th Amendment Classroom Presentation Freedmen's Bureau Gothic Revival architecture cemetery preservation Nevada County Arkansas Main Street Arkansas:Real Estate Transfer Tax Mississippi County Courthouse Osceola Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium Museum Louisiana Main Street program Arkansas Business History Arkansas Historic Preservation Program historic Arkansas properties downtown economic development free historic preservation workshop 13th Amendment Arkansas Humanities Council National Register of Historic Camden Arkansas Prairie County Arkansas Arkansas religious history Morrilton Arkansas Evelyn Gill Walker House Arkansas Preservation Awards steel window restoration workshop slipcover removal grants North Little Rock Arkansas Naturalistic Architecture Polk County Arkansas Saline County Arkansas Barney Elias House Marked Tree Lock and Siphons Dr. Ruth Hawkins Trail of Tears in Arkansas Main Street Dumas Monroe County Arkansas Benton Arkansas Perry County Arkansas Tudor Revival Architecture Booneville Historical Preservation Society Main Street Batesville Pike County Courthouse Real Estate Transfer Tax Walks Through History Forrest City Arkansas Old U.S. Post Office and Customs House Fayetteville Arkansas Clarendon Arkansas Pulaski County Courthouse International-Style Architecture Monsanto Chemical Corporation Miller County Mid-Century Modern Architecture White County Courthouse Main Street Ozark Little Rock Central High School Newton County Arkansas Dionicio Rodriguez Carlisle Rock Island Railroad Depot Turner Restoration Arkansas Railroad History Roe Arkansas free history tours Centennial Baptist Church Mosaic Templars Cultural Center Rustic Architecture historic telephone booth Arkansas State University Heritage Sites Huntsville Commercial Historic District Rosston Arkansas Sandwiching in History National Register of Historic Places Arkansas African American Civil War History historic resort communities Delta Cultural Center Phillips County Arkansas Pope County Arkansas Free Courthouse Poster Erbie Arkansas Renaissance Revival Architecture cemetery preservsation Arkansas History Paris Arkansas Kiblah School Wingmead Montgomery County Arkansas Main Street Siloam Springs Art Deco Architecture Edgar Monsanto Queeny Burdette Arkansas Central High School Neighborhood Historic District Little Rock Fire Station No. 2 Cumberland Presbyterian Church Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission Freedom Park Booneville Arkansas County courthouse Restoration Grants Monroe County Courthouse New Century Club of Camden National Historic Landmark Flood Control Destination Downtown Conference most endangered historic places Madison County Arkansas "Let Freedom Ring" Travel Grants Civilian Conservation Corps Arkansas Design Network U.S. Forest Service Ozark Farming Historic Preservation Alliance Main Street Searcy Estes-Williams Post #61 American Legion Hut Abolition of Slavery Craftsman style architecture Main Street Arkansas Marked Tree Arkansas Sunken Lands Arkansas Register of Historic Places Historic County Courthouses Ouachita County Arkansas

Archive