WAPAKONETA, Ohio — Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics is the recipient of a prestigious award for its contributions to tourism in the Mercer and Auglaize counties area.
Shrine administrator Don Rosenbeck accepted the Stahr Award on behalf of the shrine during the annual Auglaize and Mercer Counties Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) luncheon and awards ceremony on April 15 in Wapakoneta. The award was presented by CVB president Pam Buschur.
In presenting the Stahr Award for 2010, Ms. Buschur noted the Maria Stein Shrine has been welcoming and assisting visitors to northwest Ohio for more than 100 years. The shrine not only boosts area tourism, but also offers a lovely, prayerful environment for pilgrims who visit, and encourages an appreciation for the region’s rich history as well.
“This year’s Stahr Award winner offers visitors not only respite from the hustle and bustle of the world as a place of prayer, but also an appreciation of the past,” Buschur noted.
The site of the original motherhouse of the Sisters of the Precious Blood and a key convent for the congregation since 1846, Maria Stein Shrine is also home to a popular relic chapel with a collection of more than 1,000 documented relics of saints, the second-largest collection in the United States. The shrine also has a Eucharistic chapel, a museum and gift shop and outdoor shrine areas. (Click here for more information on Maria Stein Shrine.)
In the past year alone, Maria Stein Shrine welcomed more than 25,000 visitors, Rosenbeck said. The shrine is also an important bus stop on most tours sponsored by CVB, Bushur said.
The Stahr Award is named in honor of former CVB Trustee Bill Stahr, a local videographer (Stahr Video) who was passionate about promoting the two-county area. After his death, the board chose to honor him with the creation of the award. A request for nominations for the award is sent out annually to all CVB membership. The nominating committee then reviews all nominations and votes for the winners.
The awards ceremony also honored two other area residents for their contributions: Julie Miller of St. Henry, former CVB past president, received the Past President’s Award for being “passionate about tourism and its importance to our communities,” Buschur said. John Zwez of Wapakoneta received the Ambassador’s Award for his work to save the [Neil] Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta when it was threatened with being closed due to the economic downturn.