Albania: National Shrine to Our Lady of Good Counsel
Albania is a country with a very old Catholic tradition, and yet the Christian population (both Orthodox and Catholic) has suffered much persecution over the centuries. Beginning with then under rule by the Ottoman Turks for over 400 years, when Islam became the predominant religion in the country.
After the Communists took power in 1944, all religions (Muslim, Christian) came under attack. Catholic lands and buildings were confiscated, priests and laymen tortured and killed, and it became illegal to practice any religion.
The main capital city of Tirana has received Mother Teresa (herself an Albanian), Pope John Paul II (1993) and Pope Francis (2014). In fact, the airport is known as Tirana Mother Teresa Airport. Saint Paul’s Cathedral in Tirana bears stained glass windows of each as you enter.
Traveling to Albania:
There is no international train service. Several airlines offer international flights from nearby countries. The nearby port of Durres (about 30 km) has ferry service to several Italian cities as well as Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Address: Bulevardi Zhan d’Ark, Tirana 1000, Albania
GPS coordinates: 41° 19′ 29.3052” N, 19° 49′ 25.5612” E