Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica

Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica is a Catholic basilica on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois, which also houses the National Shrine of Saint Peregrine. Located at 3121 West Jackson Boulevard, within the Archdiocese of Chicago, it is, along with St. Hyacinth and Queen of All Saints, one of only three churches in Illinois designated by the Pope with the title of basilica.

Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of Sorrows 080202 feedback.jpg
Interior of the basilica
Coordinates: 41°52′37″N 87°42′15″W / 41.877043°N 87.704033°W / 41.877043; -87.704033
LocationChicago, Illinois
DenominationCatholic Church
Religious instituteServite Order
StatusMinor basilica, national shrine
DedicationOur Lady of Sorrows
ConsecratedJanuary 5, 1902
Architect(s)Henry Engelbert
John F. Pope
William J. Brinkmann
StyleItalian Renaissance Revival
GroundbreakingJune 17, 1890
ArchdioceseArchdiocese of Chicago

The church is also one of few "Black basilicas" in the United States, having a significant African-American population. Another is the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk, Virginia.


Founded in 1874, it has been administered by the Servite fathers for its entire history. Ground was broken for the current building on June 17, 1890, and the church was dedicated on January 5, 1902.[1]

The Parish served an Irish and Italian congregation for many years. The sorrowful mother novena was a major devotion at the parish during the first half of the 20th century, drawing worshippers from across the country and reaching many more listeners by radio.[2][3] The church also houses the National Shrine of St. Peregrine, the patron of those suffering from cancer.

In the 1960s and 1970s the parish became predominantly African-American.[citation needed]

The basilica was used for a brief scene in the 1987 film The Untouchables in which Sean Connery's character explains "The Chicago Way" to Kevin Costner's character.[1]


The church was designed in an Italian Renaissance Revival architectural style by Henry Engelbert, John F. Pope, and William J. Brinkmann. It features a barrel-vaulted ceiling that wraps around a high altar made entirely of Carrara marble. It was declared a basilica by the Vatican in 1956.

In architecture booksEdit

Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica is featured in a number of books on Chicago architecture, most notably "The AIA Guide to Chicago" by Alice Sinkevitch (Harvest Books 2004).

It is also in a number of books devoted to church architecture, among them:

  • "Chicago Churches: A Photographic Essay" by Elizabeth Johnson (Uppercase Books Inc, 1999)
  • "Heavenly City: The Architectural Tradition of Catholic Chicago" by Denis R. McNamara (Liturgy Training Publications 2005)
  • "The Archdiocese of Chicago: A Journey of Faith" by Edward R. Kantowicz (Booklink 2007)
  • "Chicago Churches and Synagogues: An Architectural Pilgrimage" by George A. Lane (Loyola Press 1982)
  • "The Spiritual Traveler: Chicago and Illinois: A Guide to Sacred Sites and Peaceful Places" by Marylin Chiat (HiddenSpring 2004).

Notable parishionersEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "A Brief History of the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows". Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica web site.
  2. ^ "The Perpetual Novena in Honour of Our Sorrowful Mother". e-Catholic 2000. Archived from the original on 2016-04-14. Retrieved 2018-09-21. Alt URL
  3. ^ "Our Lady of Sorrows Novena Prayers". Friar Servants of Mary USA Province. 2018-09-06. Retrieved 2018-09-21.

External linksEdit