Shrine profile – St. Peregrine Shrine, Collegeville

Categories: Around the Diocese,Year of Mercy,Year of Mercy Pilgrimage Shrines


Pilgrimage stamp for the Year of Mercy passport

Pope Francis declared an Extraordinary Year of Mercy beginning Dec. 8, 2015, and ending Nov. 20, 2016. Bishop Donald Kettler has designated places of pilgrimage and shrines within the St. Cloud Diocese for this Holy Year, inviting the faithful to experience grace and reconciliation as they rediscover joy in the mercy of God. A pilgrimage passport to encourage people to participate in this jubilee was introduced in the Dec. 18 issue of The Visitor. The passport may also be found at Click on “Pilgrimage Passport.”

This is the fourth profile of the five shrines to be featured. The St. Cloud Shrine at St. Mary’s Cathedral was spotlighted Jan. 15, the National Shrine of St. Odilia in Onamia was featured in the Jan. 29 edition and the Divine Mercy Shrine of Sauk Centre was highlighted Feb. 12.

Where is it?

The St. Peregrine Shrine rests at the heart of the Abbey Reliquary in the lower church of St. John’s Abbey Church. Marked by the Bell Banner, the Abbey Church is located at 2900 Abbey Plaza, Collegeville. After entering the main doors of the church, follow the stairs (on the left and right of the baptismal font) down to the lower church.

What will you see?

Dianne Towalski / The Visitor The skeletal remains of St. Peregrine lie in a coffin under glass in the Abbey Reliquary in the lower church of St. John’s Abbey Church.

The skeletal remains of St. Peregrine lie in a coffin under glass in the Abbey Reliquary in the lower church of St. John’s Abbey Church. Photo by Dianne Towalski / The Visitor

Upon entering the Abbey Reliquary, you will notice stone reliefs and shelves in the walls of the room. These normally house relics from numerous saints displayed throughout the year and placed in the Abbey Church for All Saints Day Mass. While the full reliquary is available to view upon request throughout the year, for the pilgrimage other relics have been removed to highlight St. Peregrine as the central focus.
At the front of the shrine you will see an altar lit from below. There, under the altar, you will find St. Peregrine, boy-martyr. Dressed in medieval attire, the skeletal remains lie in a coffin under glass.

The story of St. Peregrine’s relics coming to Collegeville begins with Benedictine Abbot Kilian Kneuer, who acquired the saint’s bodily remains for his monastery, Neustadt am Main Abbey in Bavaria in 1731. In 1803 St. Peregrine was given, in compensation to Prinz Karl von Lowenstein-Wertheim, Schloss Kleinheubach-am-Main, and there he remained until a fire demolished the church in 1854. Forty-one years later, Benedictine Father Gerard Spielman, a Collegeville monk serving as assistant pastor of St. Anselm Parish in New York, convinced Prince Karl-Heinz von Lowenstein-Wertheim and Ferdinand von Schloer, bishop of Warzburg, to restore the relic to the Benedictines. According to the original intention of the donor concerning Benedictine guardianship, the body of St. Peregrine was moved to Collegeville on Oct. 10, 1927.

Who was St. Peregrine?

St. Peregrine was martyred with his fellow Christians and friends Eusebius, Pontian and Vincent in Rome by the command Emperor Commodus in the year 192. Upon hearing of the emperor’s blasphemous demand to be adored as the demigod Hercules, Peregrine and his friends were inflamed with holy fervor.

Incited by the Holy Spirit, they hurried into the streets condemning the revolting Roman practices and inspired the conversion of the Roman Senator Julius, who was soon martyred. The emperor’s interest quickly turned toward those responsible for Julius’ conversion, the child Peregrine and his friends.

Through imprisonment and torture the children remained faithful. Christians seeking to comfort the children left filled with the Holy Spirit, having witnessed numerous miracles and even the conversion of one of the jailers. Until overcome with frustration at their defiance and persistence in faith, the emperor sentenced Peregrine and his friends to death by flogging with leaden scourges.

There is another St. Peregrine. St. Peregrine Laziosi (1265-1345) is the patron of cancer patients.

What to do while you are there:

Pass through the Holy Doors between the baptistery and the nave, pray at the shrine of St. Peregrine, attend daily Mass and/or join the Benedictine monks for the Liturgy of the Hours. For information about obtaining the jubilee indulgence, see the Jan. 15 issue of The Visitor or visit:

  • The St. John’s Abbey Church is open from 7 a.m. to about 10 p.m. Church tours are available upon request at:
  • Masses celebrated at the church: Monday through Friday at 5 p.m.; Saturday at 11:30 a.m.; Sunday at 10:30 a.m.; unless otherwise noted.
  • Liturgy of the Hours prayed at the church: Monday through Friday at 7 a.m., noon and 7 p.m.; Saturday at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

To learn more about the relic of St. Peregrine, visit