Found: Mrs. Van Hoof and Shrine, Necedah, WI

Found: "Mrs. Van Hoof and Shrine, Necedah, Wisconsin"
circa 1950s on Kodak RPPC paper
Found: "Crucifixion Shrine, Queen of the Holy Rosary, Mediatrix of Peace Shrine, Necedah, Wisconsin"
published by G. R. Brown Co., Eau Claire, Wisconsin, circa 1970s

On a summer drive home from Sparta along Wisconsin Highway 21, we spotted signs pointing to the Queen of the Holy Rosary Mediatrix of Peace Shrine in Necedah. Unaware of this infamous Wisconsin pilgrimage spot, we pulled over to check it out. Another sign asked women wearing shorts to put on a supplied wrap around skirt made of heavy cotton duck to "observe modesty in dress" while visiting.
A series of elaborate glass-encased passion shrines (see above post card example, note wounds) encircled the former Van Hoof farm. We learned the Roman Catholic female goddess/icon oft-referred to as the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) appeared to a "farmer's wife" named Mrs. Fred Van Hoof (1909-1984) nine times starting in 1949--often in her farmhouse bedroom. A replica of the farm house stands amongst the shrines. Life (magazine) covered one of Mrs. Van Hoof's apparitions on page 21 of the August 28, 1956 issue after 80,000 descended upon the small Wisconsin town cramming the grounds with cars and pleas for healing and deliverance from nuclear annihilation. In the printed matter we picked up from For My God and My Country, Inc., the organization operating the shrine, conflated the BVM, flying saucers, anti-abortion campaigning, and American patriotism. Hence, they broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. The group has been building an ambitious cathedral, House of Prayer, following the instructions Mrs. Van Hoof  received from the BVM. With only the concrete foundation completed, it looked like a flying saucer landing pad. A web site documents slow yet continual work. There was an info center/gift shop. We bought rosaries, scapulas, books, and other Catholic ephemera. The last time we passed through, a turbulent thunder storm was rolling in. We had just enough time to revisit the Sacred Spot Place of Apparition. Lighting streaked through the sky and we made one negative recording a glowing apparition.


  1. This concerns the Necedah and Mrs. Van Hoof site. When I was a kid, probably 9 or so, early 50's I guess, my parents took me to visit the site. We watched as Mrs. Van Hoof came out of the front door and at least acknowledged the crowd of people. My folks were Catholics, and I was not at all sure they believed in what supposedly happened there. But, we were told that at noon the sun would spin in the sky, so at high noon we stared at the sun, burning out our eyeballs to be sure, trying to see if the sun would actually spin. Some people believed they saw some spinning...but I guess that anyone staring into the bright light without protection would see what appeared to be movement as one's eyes were naturally affected. Some people also talked about seeing images of Christ or Mary in the trees...formed by shapes of leaves and branches. So...not only potato chips and other veggies and fruits, and stains on walls, can take the form of religous figures...so do trees. One of my much older cousins, a kind gentle man, worked as a caretaker for the site, for decades in fact. He believed... Gary John Gresl

  2. It is fantastic getting this first hand account of Mrs. Van Hoof, Gary! We want to believe that the sun did spin in the sky for all those who believed it would.