Know Before You Go: Spiritual Tours and Places in La Crosse, WI



By: Anastasia Penchi

Western Wisconsin is referred to as “God’s Country” for good reason.

The endless landscapes featuring the splendor of the bluffs and coulees remind us of the highs and lows of life. These sights inspire goodness. We aspire to be more Godly. Meanwhile, the Mississippi River – the other local rivers, too – flow and calm our souls.
Man (and woman) can even create places that give us peace. Add artist inspiration to the beauty of God’s work (or Buddha’s work or any other entity you want to attribute it to) and hopefully, you can tap into that inner harmony.
If your soul is aching at the promise of contentment, here are some places in Western Wisconsin to try to get in touch with it:

The Shrine

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which was completed in 2008, encompasses about 100 acres, and has a Meditation Trail, Rosary Walk, Catholic Church and several other buildings including a restaurant and gift shop. Those familiar with the loveliness of the hilly woodlands and meandering trout streams in La Crosse County can attest to the spiritual musings that can come about when visiting this Catholic holy ground honoring Jesus’ Mother Mary. The scenery is wonderful at the Shrine, and don’t worry about accessibility. They have a fleet of golf carts and many volunteers who provide all visitors the opportunity to take in the beauty of the grounds. Take the Rosary Walk if the weather is nice and become inspired by God and nature. Daily Tours: Find out more!

The Convent

St. Rose Convent in La Crosse is a popular historical site in the city, and serves as the administrative center for the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, with three chapels, more than 50 offices and a home for some of the congregation’s retired sisters. Mary of the Angels Chapel welcomes visitors from around the world. The Web site tells the story of a fire in 1923 that threatened to destroy St. Rose Convent and its chapels, but a statue of St. Michael placed just outside the main chapel doors is credited with protecting that part of the building. Though the fire destroyed the west wing of the Convent, it stopped just short of the vestibule where St. Michael stood guard — that corridor and chapels were untouched. Daily Tours: Find out more!

Spirituality Center

The Franciscan Spirituality Center is a sacred place of simplicity and hospitality for those seeking spiritual renewal, healing, and deeper self-awareness. People of all faiths are welcome to come to learn and experience Franciscan spirituality by discovering God in all creation. Offering individual and group spiritual direction, program and retreat offerings, meeting room space for organizations interested in overnight or daylong conferences or retreats and compassionate listening. Weekly Workshops: Find out more!

Anastasia Penchi is graduate of UW-La Crosse and a long-time Coulee Region writer who has written for area newspapers and magazines (