The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin is a new American religious site, dedicated in 2008, which though designed and promoted as a pilgrimage site, does not successfully function as a place of pilgrimage. The shrine did not develop organically, but was imagined and promoted by Raymond Burke, then bishop of La Crosse, and later elevated to cardinal after serving as archbishop of St. Louis. The costly structure, designed by the world’s leading sacred architects and filled with original art pieces in classical representative style, succeeds in conveying a clear and forceful aesthetic, moral, and devotional vision. This shrine is a place where particular aspects of Catholic identity are broadcast through a bold and impressive visual landscape, but it is not a place where the beliefs and needs of visitors have been allowed—at least as of yet—to shape that landscape or its meanings.


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