Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Virgin Mary Shrine of South Oakland

Erected in someone's backyard, next to a reportedly miraculous spring possessed of healing powers.
Wakefield St., Pittsburgh, PA
Exit 376 East at the Oakland exit. Go up the hill and turn right onto the Boulevard of the Allies, and then make an immediate right onto Ward Street. At the end of the street, turn left and then make an immediate right down the small alley. The alley turns right and goes sharply downhill. At the end of the street is a wall; beyond the wall is the backyard shrine.
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Virgin Mary Shrine of South Oakland

It is best to park on Ward Street near the top of the hill rather than driving down the hill. If you drive down the hill to the wall at the dead end, there is no way to turn around. I had to drive backwards up the hill, which isn't a lot of fun. It's much easier to park at the top.

[signmanjoe, 11/20/2018]

Shrine of the Blessed Mother Entrance sign.

Virgin Mary Shrine of South Oakland

There's a sign as you get closer. It's at the end of the street past a high wall and down a wooden sidewalk. Saw a half dozen deer while there.

[Paul, 03/10/2010]
Virgin Mary Shrine of South Oakland

Deep in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of South Oakland, home to many of the University of Pittsburgh's students, is a supposedly miraculous shrine to the Virgin Mary. Overlooking the Parkway, Route 376, the shrine has been erected in someone's backyard around a reportedly miraculous spring, possessed of healing powers.

I have heard two different stories about the origin of the shrine: the first is that a statue of the Virgin was put on the site after a deadly car accident on the Parkway by an older woman, who also planted flowers around the statue. Concerned with how she was going to routinely water these flowers, she prayed and was rewarded with a spring that began to flow out of the rocky outcropping surrounding the statue, which later proved to have healing powers. The second story is that the shrine was the site of the miraculous appearance of the Virgin to a steelworker on his lunchbreak.

In any case, the spring and statue are still present, as are later additions to the shrine, such as stations of the cross. The Catholic Church doesn't recognize the site, but it's a lovely little grotto to visit for the faithful and non-faithful alike. And the owners of the backyard don't mind people tramping through their property at all. So come to Pittsburgh and get healed.

[Sabrina Spiher, 08/22/2004]

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In the region:
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