Colebrook, New Hapshire: National Shrine of Our Lady of Grace
This shrine was established in 1948 as a tribute to Our Lady of Grace. The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I.) were celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary and built the shrine as a thank you for the countless blessings she had bestowed on them. It is located on 30 acres in a setting of great beauty with a prayerful atmosphere. There are over 50 statues carved from carrar marble and granite.
There is one statue that might seem unusual: a monument to motorcycle riders titled “Motorcyclists in Prayer”. Every year the Shrine is host to an event known as the “New Hampshire Blessing of the Bikes”. The event draws over 10,000 people each year who take part in this three-day event. It includes the Great North Woods ride-in, motorcycle rodeo games, a parade, music and more. So you may want to ignore what we said about the peaceful setting….for three days at least.
The three day event ends on Sunday with Mass, and then the bikers line up in two rows….one facing north and the other facing south…according the directions they will be taking to go home. Then comes the blessing performed by the priests of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
The Shrine is open only in the summer from Mother’s Day through the second Sunday of October. There is daily Mass at 11:00 a.m.
The phone number for the shrine is (603) 237-5511.
Please note that, beginning in 2015, the entire event, including the Motorcyclist in Prayer Monument along with Billy D’s and Brownie’s Memorial stone have been moved to Speedway 51 in Groveton, New Hampshire.
Photo credit Ed Sanders.
The Missionary Oblates now count multiple shrines as parts of their varied ministry in their U.S. Province, and in addition Our Lady of Grace, they also have the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois and the Oblate Grotto in San Antonio, Texas.