Father Fred J. Barnett began construction on the Shrine in the mid 1980s as a way to honor Mary, the Mother of Jesus and to handle the overflow crowds at the summer services. It was dedicated in 1988 as Mary, Mother of the Church. From those humble beginnings, it has since grown into a National Shrine.
The sculpture of Mary, set in 1992, was sculpted by Don Wiegand, Chesterfield, MO. and commissioned by John Fabick and the Fabick Charitable Trust.
The Board of Directors was established and the first meeting was March 23, 1998. The Board is made up of people throughout the United States.
The first engraving on The Mothers’ Wall of Life was on April 1, 1999. The Mothers’ Wall is a tribute to motherhood and family life, for all mother’s living or deceased, regardless of race, color or creed. There are now 37 states and 13 countries represented on the Wall, making this the most meaningful shrine in the country.
In 2003, Archbishop James P. Keleher, Chairman of the Bishops Committee for National Shrines, and Bishop John R. Gaydos, of the Diocese of Jefferson City, announced that the Mothers’ Shrine had been designated as the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church. This is the sixteenth National Shrine in the Untied States, and the only recognized National Shrine in Missouri.