National Catholic Register


The Shroud in New Jersey

BY Joseph Pronechen

May 10, 1998 Issue | Posted 5/10/98 at 1:00 PM


For American pilgrims unable to venture to Turin to view its famous shroud, currently on display, Our Lady of the Rosary Shrine in Summit, N.J., is a worthy alternative. Its neo-Gothic church, which dates to 1939, has become a popular stop for many Marian devotees. In fact, when the grotto was officially blessed May 22, 1921, the occasion also marked the earliest U.S. record of a pilgrimage and procession to honor Our Lady of the Rosary.

At its peak in the mid-1930s, the shrine drew up to 10,000 pilgrims for celebrations on the first Sunday in May. Exceptional crowds also arrived for each of the first Sundays through October. While changes have occurred, other standards have remained constant. One is the cloistered Dominican nuns who founded their monastery on this site in 1919. Another is the presence of a “true copy” of the Shroud of Turin.

The Dominican nuns of Our Lady of the Rosary Monastery dedicate themselves to choral recitation of the divine office, to perpetual adoration, and to the perpetual rosary. Pilgrims can pray before the Blessed Sacrament, exposed above the main altar, and hear the nuns chant during communal devotions on the other side of the chapel.

The true copy of the Shroud was a gift to the community from cloistered Dominicans nuns in Rome who had been its guardians for 300 years. The image was painted in 1624 on a commission from the grand duchess of Tuscany, Maria Meddalena.

More than a replica, this one of two true copies that were painted using the Shroud of Turin as a model on linen then, for a time, laid upon the original.

In March 1987, 15 scientists heading to study the original Shroud came to Our Lady of the Rosary Shrine to examine the true copy first. Although no longer on public display, pilgrims may view the image by scheduling an appointment with the nuns in advance.

Our Lady of Rosary Shrine is slightly west of Newark, N.J., about 45 miles from the Blue Army Shrine (see main article) via Interstate 78 and Route 24 W (Summit Avenue) to Springfield Avenue. The Shrine, located at the intersection of Morris and Springfield Avenues, is open daily for individuals and groups.

For more information, or to schedule a visit to view the true copy of the Shroud, call 908-273-1228.

—Joseph Pronechen