Illinois News

What are the best places for a visit to a historic mission or church in Illinois?

Exploring Illinois’ Sacred History: Top Historic Missions and Churches

Illinois, a state rich in history and culture, is home to some of the most beautiful and historic missions and churches in the United States. These sacred sites offer visitors a glimpse into the past and a chance to appreciate the architectural and spiritual heritage of the region.

The Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville is one of the largest outdoor shrines in North America. Founded in 1958, this modern-day pilgrimage site is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and is known for its serene grounds and inspiring outdoor Way of the Cross.

St. James at Sag Bridge Church in Lemont, established in 1833, is the oldest continuously operating parish in the Chicago area. Nestled in a picturesque setting, it stands as a testament to the endurance of faith through the centuries.

The Holy Family Church, located in Chicago, is one of the city’s oldest churches still in use. Built in 1857, it survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and is a stunning example of Victorian Gothic architecture.


Q: Are these sites open to visitors of all faiths?
A: Yes, these historic missions and churches welcome visitors of all backgrounds to explore and appreciate their history and beauty.

Q: Is there an admission fee to visit these sites?
A: Some sites may request donations or have a small admission fee to help with maintenance and preservation efforts.


Mission: A settlement established by Christian missionaries, often with the aim of evangelizing a particular area or people group.

Shrine: A holy or sacred place, which is dedicated to a specific deity, saint, or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated.

Pilgrimage: A journey to a sacred place or shrine of importance to a person’s beliefs and faith.

Visiting these historic missions and churches offers not only a journey through the spiritual landscape of Illinois but also an opportunity to reflect on the stories and traditions that have shaped the state’s identity. Whether you’re a history buff, architecture enthusiast, or seeking a peaceful retreat, Illinois’ sacred sites are well worth the visit.

By Daniel Hall

Daniel Hall is a noted author and researcher with a focus on energy efficiency and smart city technologies in the United States. His work explores the integration of innovative energy solutions into urban infrastructure, emphasizing the role of technology in enhancing sustainability and resilience in American cities. Hall's analysis of how smart grids, renewable energy sources, and energy-efficient technologies can transform urban living is both comprehensive and forward-looking. His contributions are highly regarded for shedding light on the path towards more sustainable and technologically advanced urban environments.