MARIA STEIN — After 170 years of ministry in Mercer and Auglaize counties, the Sisters of the Precious Blood are turning to the laity to secure the future of the landmark Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics.
A 501c3 nonprofit organization will assume responsibility and operation of the Shrine on Jan. 1, 2017.
In addition, the Legacy Fund has been created to raise the $6 million needed to generate adequate income for the maintenance and operation of the Shrine. The first $2 million was donated by the Sisters of the Precious Blood. Nearly $950,000 has been pledged and donated from other sources, with an anonymous donor matching up to another $2 million. The $2 million match extends to pledges and donations made by Dec. 31, 2017.
The Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics was established in 1846 as the Sisters of the Precious Blood original motherhouse.
“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.”
Sisters of the Precious Blood continue to volunteer at the Shrine, and several sisters live in nearby communities.
“The German Catholic community, whose ancestors learned much of their spirituality from the Sisters of the Precious Blood, has demonstrated a real commitment to the Shrine. Just as local parishes are involving the laity more and more, so too will the Shrine,” said Don Rosenbeck, President of Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics.
Mother Maria Anna Brunner founded the Sisters of the Precious Blood in 1834 in Switzerland. The congregation expanded to the United States in 1844 and eight Precious Blood Sisters began perpetual adoration at Maria Stein on Sept. 24, 1846. The Rev. Francis de Sales Brunner, Maria Anna’s son, established 10 major Precious Blood foundations in America.
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.