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 A large statue of Mary is the focal point of the Apparition Oratory. Shown is a pilgrim praying before the statue in the underground chapel designed for visitors to have an intiate encounter with Mary while on the grounds of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin where Mary appeared in 1859. (LINDA REEVES|FC)

Lourdes and Fatima are popular religious sites visited by thousands of pilgrims each year, but the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is steadily becoming a top place for spiritual getaways, and it is located in America’s own backyard.

We made a pilgrimage there Aug. 15, the Assumption of the Blessed Mother, to witness for ourselves all that we had heard about the Wisconsin site, where Mary appeared over 160 years ago and where miracles continue to occur.

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A pilgrim prays inside the Apparition Chapel on the grounds of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wis. in the Diocese of Green Bay. The chapel is the fourth chapel built on the grounds where Mary appeared in 1859. (LINDA REEVES | FC)

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Elizabeth Brickman,(left) a parishioner of St. Vincent Ferrer in Delray Beach, and Maria Beckwith, a parishioner of Sacred Heart Parish in Lake Worth, arrive for Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wis. Aug. 15 after a 38-mile walking pilgrimage. (LINDA REEVES|FC)

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Children take part in a procession with clergy and men and women faithful Aug. 15, the Assumption of Blessed Mother, on the grounds of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wis. (LINDA REEVES|FC)

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