The Shrine Statue
The life-size statue of Our Lady of Holy Hill is a beautiful representation of Mary presenting her Son to the world. This masterpiece was made in Munich, Germany and brought to America by the Pustet firm for the Philadelphia World's Fair in 1876. A devout Wisconsin man purchased the statue for Holy Hill but for practical reasons it was first taken to St. Hubert's Parish in Hubertus where it remained for two years. On July 1, 1878, eighteen young barefoot women dressed in white robes with blue ribbons, carried the statue from St. Hubert's in Hubertus seven miles to the log chapel at the top of Holy Hill. The women were escorted by an entourage of 100 men on horseback, many priests and delegates from all over the state. These dedicated pilgrims filled the air with prayers and songs as they processed to their goal.
The ivory colored and gold leaf statue of Our Lady of Holy Hill now stands in the beautiful 40 x 50 foot shrine chapel to the right of the sanctuary in the upper church. Below the base of the statue is an elegant bouquet of hand-beaten bronze roses covered with simulated ruby-studded rosettes strung together by a rope of simulated sapphires. The statue is set against a circular wall of pink-veined Kasota marble.
The chapel altar, also of pink-veined Kasota marble, matches the circular wall behind the statue perfectly. The front of the altar is engraved with the family tree of Jesus according to Matthew's gospel. At the lower left, the figure of Abraham is portrayed as he dreams of his descendants. One of them, King David, is represented by the crown in the center.
Beautiful stained glass windows in the shrine chapel illustrate the Hail, Holy Queen. They arrived from the Van Treeck studios in Munich, Germany via the St. Lawrence Seaway in March of 1958. They were installed at no charge by Matthew Lechner that year.
The original shrine chapel in the present (third) shrine church was smaller than the existing Sacred Heart shrine. Construction for the current shrine chapel was supervised by Fr. Stephen Dzuban. The dedication ceremony took place on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1956 and was presided over by Archbishop Roman R. Atkielski of Milwaukee. The homilist was Bishop William P. Connor of the Madison diocese.
Reverence for Mary is further expressed in the beautiful stained glass windows of the upper church. These windows, also done by the Van Treek studios are pictorial statements of Marian theology.
Of the fourteen high windows portraying Mary's life, the two larger windows illustrate her relationship to the Order. The remaining twelve show her personal life. When facing the main sanctuary the windows at left from the front of the church to the back portray: the birth of Mary with her parents, St. Anne and St. Joachim, and an attending midwife; Mary's presentation in the temple; the traditional scapular vision of St. Simon Stock; the betrothal of Mary and Joseph; the Annunciation; the Visitation and the Nativity. Beginning from the front of the church on the right they portray: her coronation as Queen of Heaven; the Assumption; Mary's appearance to the three Carmelites saying, "Ecce Fratres", Behold Brothers, the Descent of the Holy Spirit; the Holy Family; the flight into Egypt, and the presentation of Jesus in the temple.
The eighteen small windows previously hidden by the confessionals are symbolic illustrations of Mary's charisms. There are ten small windows (five on either side of the church at eye level) that illustrate the sorrowful and glorious mysteries of the rosary.
The beautiful Rose Window above the choir loft gives honor to the Immaculate Conception, national patroness of the United States. The twelve angels from the Apocalypse of St. John surround her. In the center below, Adam and Eve are shown leaving the garden of Eden; the promise of a redeemer is illustrated at left and the announcement of His awaited arrival is on the right.
The windows above the altar are the Lamb of God (at left) and the Pelican with the pierced breast, an early Christian symbol for Christ on the right.
Even before the building of the first log chapel, pilgrims left crutches, leg braces and canes at Holy Hill. Today, this practice is continued by pilgrims who believe that Mary and her son, the Lord Jesus Christ, have healed them through the power of intercessory prayer.