The shrine in Marija Bistrica became a national shrine in 1715 when the Croatian parliament built a big votive altar at the local church. As Marian devotions grew and many prayers seeking intercession of Saint Mary of Bistrica got answered, the shrine’s church became too small, so Bistrica’s parish priest Juraj Žerjavić had the church and the parish house extended with arcades and reconstructed following the design of architect Friedrich von Schmidt and his student Hermann Bollé. The new church was built in Neo-Renaissance style.
The first large celebration in Marija Bistrica took place in August of 1971 when the XIIIth International Marian Congress was held there. That year, the bishops proclaimed the shrine "Croatian national shrine of Saint Mary of Bistrica".
Photographs taken in 2014. © Donald Walter.