The Archives

Few other operating parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago have as rich and dramatic a history as does the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Melrose Park.  

The Shrine tells the history not only of its bricks-and-mortar, but of a people who came to this country throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The Italian immigrants who settled in Melrose Park, Illinois were among the poorest to reach Ellis Island.  Largely from the rural south and often illiterate, those determined immigrants and their progeny built churches, schools, seminaries and nursing homes and became leaders in every profession.  Many even have achieved national and international fame.

All of them - even those who haven’t stepped foot in Melrose Park in decades - can trace their roots to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Melrose Park, a devotion that began with an earnest prayer to Our Lady to save a woman’s dying husband.  Now in its third century, the devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in this village continues to attract thousands who flock to Her Feast every July.  Through Her intercession more miracles and answered prayers have been granted than we can ever hope to count and chronicle here.  Many others are known only to Her, Her Son and to those who received them.   And they still continue.

Through a partnership with Dominican University, the Archive Project will include both an online presence on the Shrine website and a physical location that houses documents, photographs, videos, recordings, letters – and other artifacts that will be available for viewing and/or for research.   To build an Archive that accurately captures the remarkable history of the Shrine, we hope to engage and collaborate with those who have a connection to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the school, parish and even the village of Melrose Park.  Many former and current parishioners have been generous and provided the Archive Project with family photos and videos.  Some have given us very rare copies of commemorative booklets on the Feast, posters, class photos and even statues and artifacts from our beloved old church.  We are interested in hearing from anyone who believes that they have something to share.

The Archive Project is in no way limited to the experiences of the Italian founders and devotees.  Throughout 100-plus years, Our Lady of Mount Carmel has continuously attracted a multi-ethnic following that includes Lithuanian, German, Irish, Filipino, Haitian and Latin American devotees.  All are Her children and are loved by Her equally.  Consequently, the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is open to anyone who finds a spiritual home here.   The Archive Project wants to include their stories, as well.

Over the coming weeks we will include a formal policy statement for the Archive Project that describes precisely how we will manage this new resource at the Shrine.  It will include an explanation of how you can donate, lend or allow us to duplicate materials you may be interested in including in the Archives.   Also included here will be forms that we would ask you complete and sign regarding your contributions to the Archives. 

Please check this website often; we will regularly post updates and include “sneak previews” of what we’re working on – and also mention of what are some specific items we are trying to locate (e.g., church bulletins, booklets, photos of specific events, etc.). 

You can always connect with us via email:  olmcshrinemp@gmail.com

Thank you, and may Our Lady of Mount Carmel continue to intercede for you and yours.