Shrine of Our Lady of Sheshan
The Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Sheshan is located in the district of Song Jiang, near the great metropolis of Shanghai, China and was dedicated to Our Lady Help of Christians.
In 1863, the Superior of the Jesuit community in Shanghai purchased the south side of the mountain of Sheshan. On this site, a retreat house was built with a small chapel next door, and the construction of the Shrine began. On March 1, 1868, the Bishop of Shanghai, Bishop Adrien Languillat, SJ, consecrated the chapel and blessed the image of Our Lady Help of Christians.
During the Tai Ping rebellion, the Superior of the Jesuit community in Shanghai, Fr. Gu Zhen Sheng, went up to the mountain of Sheshan to pray to the Blessed Virgin, saying: “If the diocese is saved from the attack of the rebels, we will build a basilica in thanksgiving for Our Lady’s special protection.” As a result, the diocese was spared from destruction.
In September 1870, Fr. Gu made known his invocation to the Blessed Mother and the promise to build a new church. In a document, he explained the details of the event to the faithful and began asking for donations in order to build the basilica.
On May 24, 1871, on the feast day of Our Lady Help of Christians, in the presence of 6,000 people, the Bishop of Shanghai, Bishop Languillat, SJ presided at the ceremony of the laying of the cornerstone of the new basilica, thanks to the generous offerings of the faithful.
On April 15, 1873, Bishop Languillat consecrated and inaugurated the new basilica. Since then, “Our Lady of Sheshan” has become the special protector of the Diocese of Shanghai. Every May 1 and 24, the Basilica welcomes great numbers of pilgrims not only from China, but from other countries in Asia.
Upon the request of Bishop Languillat, in 1874, Pope Pius IX granted the gift of an indulgence for all pilgrims who complete the pilgrimage to the Shrine during the month of May.
On the door of the church, according to Chinese tradition, there are two proverbs: “Rest a while by the small chapel half-way up the hill and offer your filial homage. The sanctuary is up at the mountain top. Climb a few steps more and implore the mercies of the Mother of God.”