Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Virtual Tour: Shrine of All Saints in Morton Grove, IL

The Shrine of All Saints is a true treasure in Chicago known to far too few Catholics. The Shrine is located within St. Martha Catholic Church in Morton Grove. St. Martha's main church was originally built as a multi-purpose auditorium and gymnasium for the parish school. But despite this architectural sore spot, the shrine is a treasure. 

Unassuming from the outside, inside you will find the 2nd largest collection of relics in the United States! There are over 3,000 relics housed here for public veneration. Some of the relics housed in this shrine were rescued from closed convents in France and saved from relegation to museums and private homes. Others were rescued from estate sales in Italy where families would sell off the relics of their closed private chapels since few families - if any - still have personal chaplains. It should be noted that while it is a sin to sell relics, there is no sin in buying them to rescue them. 

Some of the many relics housed in this shrine are the following:

  • The Finger bone of st. Martha of Bethany
  • A piece of hair of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary from before Her Assumption
  • A piece of the Holy Shroud of Turin
  • A relic of St. Anne, mother of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Part of the finger of the right hand of St. Hildegard of Bingen
  • A piece of the veil of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary
  • A piece of the staff of St. Joseph
  • The cranium of St. Fructuosus, Bishop of Tarragona, who was martyred in 259 AD
  • A lock of hair of St. Therese of Lisieux which still has the scent of roses on it!
  • Relic of St. Gregory Barbarigo
  • Part of the cranium of St. Barbara of Nicomedia
  • The right heel bone of St. Polycarp
  • A Finger from the right hand of St. Ignatius of Antioch
  • A reliquary containing a piece of the True Cross on which Our Lord died
  • A relic of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint
  • Two bones of St. Nicholas of Myra, which were scientifically tested and verified to come from the same period in which St. Nicholas died
  • The left humerus of St. Benedict of Nursia, the founder of Western Monasticism
  • A large bone of St. Erasmus, Bishop of Formiae, who was martyred in 303 AD
  • Part of the jaw and two teeth of St. Christina, Virgin and Martyr
  • The left fibula of St. Peter the Apostle
  • Other relics from the apostles: St. Jude, St. Simon the Zealot, St. Bartholomew, St. Philip, St. James the Lesser, St. Andrew, St. Matthias, and St. John the Evangelist
  • A bone of St. Felicitas of Rome, who witnessed the martyrdom of her seven sons before her own
  • The skull and fibula of St. Remaclus
  • Relics of the Martyrs of Vietnam
  • A large collection of relics of the Cristero Martyrs
  • A breviary and other items owned by St. John Vianney
  • Relics of St. Philomena, on display near the relics of St. John Vianney, which is appropriate considering his great devotion to her
  • Part of the dress worn by St. Edith Stein when she was received the Carmelite Habit
  • Calendar Reliquaries from the Cathedral of Ravenna as well as another from a Belgian monastery on the German border. These calendars contain one relic for each day in the year
  • The incorrupt tongue of St. John Nepomucene
  • Two large bones of St. Stephen the First Martyr, which show the cracks he sustained in them when he gave his life for Christ
It is not possible to list every saint whose relics are here. This is a truly wonderful place to pray and thank God for the miracles wrought through his saints. The shrine also has on display the oldest known depiction in the world of the Dormition of our Lady on a bronze medallion that was made between 500 - 550 AD. It was excavated in Madaba, Jordan in 2001 by Dr. Reem Hajjal. 

The Shrine is currently led by Fr. Dennis O'Neill, who has grown it to its present state over the years. It is available to tour by appointment only but if you are able to visit, you will surely find it an occasion of many graces.

Photos from my recent visit are as follows. Click on any for higher resolution:

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