August 14th, 2016 I witnessed a sea of candles held by pilgrims processing with the statue of Our Lady of Consolation. Thousands of people poured light over the country roads and campsites of Carey village, OH all along the half mile walk from Shrine Park to the Basilica. The rains held off for an outdoor mass at Shrine Park, celebrated by the Bishop of Toledo Daniel Thomas and the Bishop of Lexington, KY John Stowe, OFM Conv with several Friars, Knights of Columbus, and seminarians participating. The statue of Our Lady of Consolation is adorned with handmade, priceless garments sewn by tailors and artisans. Filipinos, Chaldeans, Albanians, Hispanics, Italians, Poles, Slovaks, Lebanese, and more have all donated these priceless garments.
We have hundreds of these custom dresses locked up and on display at Our Lady of Consolation lower church, some have platinum threads, others are golden, some with jewels embedded in the fabric. These dresses are valued beyond money and reflect one’s gratitude to the Blessed Mother. This tradition to dress the Blessed Mother in handmade dresses comes from Luxembourg and intends to gift only the best of the best to Mary in appreciation for the graces received from answered prayers. Mary has been busy delivering graces in Carey, OH for over 140 years. So many have received miracles that there are not enough days in the year for Mary to wear all the dresses. It all began with the first miracle in Carey and since that marvelous day the miracles have multiplied.
On May 24, 1875, the statue of Our Lady of Consolation was carried in procession from the church of St. Nicholas in Frenchtown to the church in Carey. It was during this procession that the first sign of the special intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary was revealed. As the procession marched, a severe storm raged in the entire area. Though the faithful could see the rain pouring down on all sides of them for the entire seven mile walk, not a drop touched the statue of Our Lady of Consolation nor anyone in the procession. This memorable church, the place of so many favors granted through Mary, remains today not only as a relic of the past, but as a place of prayer and worship. Members of Our Lady of Consolation parish gather there for early morning Mass, and many groups celebrate the goodness of God with special programs and devotions within its walls.
Fr Jim Sichko catches a “selfie” with Our Lady of Consolation, he has the most amazing friends!!!