The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Your Guide
Claire Bedat, ASLA

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Roman Catholic Church in the United States, is located in Washington D.C. Its dominant silhouette, accompanied by a colorful Byzantine dome and campanile pyramid, overlooks the Catholic University campus and Brookland’s neighborhoods — it is built to endure time and defy history itself. The Basilica is unfortunately not as celebrated as the National Cathedral, partially due to its remote location, but is well worth a visit. The Basilica was built as a shrine to the blessed Virgin Mary, a "monument of love and gratitude, a great hymn in stone as perfect as the art of man can make it and as holy as the intentions of its builders could wish it to be." -- Father Thomas Joseph Shahan.

Even a small garden located at the rear of the Basilica carries her name: Mary’s Garden. More intimate in character it has a features water, roses, and a sculpture by Jon-Joseph Russo, a locally based sculptor. The garden was designed by Brian Kane, ASLA, Place Matters Group.

The Basilica’s dome is visible from many locations on the campus, an iconic presence in the Washington D.C.skyline.

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