Portage man gathers history of Seven Dolors Shrine

2014-06-06T12:00:00Z 2014-06-07T22:28:21Z Portage man gathers history of Seven Dolors ShrineJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

SOUTH HAVEN | Dave Lasayko remembers going to the Seven Dolors Shrine as a kid with his grandparents.

It's a relationship that has lasted over the decades. The Portage man has self-published a book, "A Pilgrimage to Coventry A Photographic Journal of the Seven Dolors Shrine," chronicling the shrine from its beginning to end.

"It is such an historical place. It's been here since 1929. It has a rich history that reaches Lake and Porter counties. I just wanted to make people aware," he said.

Lasayko, who works at Valparaiso University and is taking photography classes there, snapped new photographs of what is left of the shrine and the surrounding grounds and traveled to Cincinnati to gather photographs from the Franciscans, who founded the shrine in the 1930s.

The Fransiscan friars constructed several buildings on the property, including a main grotto, the Lourdes grotto, the St. Francis Altar and the 14 Stations of the Cross. For decades, people made pilgrimages to the shrine.

Since its heyday, the Franciscans left the shrine and much of the land was sold and developed into a residential subdivision.

He also gathered historical documents and used newspaper articles to tell the story in the 138-page book.

The book is published through Blurb, an online self publishing company.

Lasayko said no one has ever gathered the history of the shrine and put it into one place. He said he's hoping his book does that and serves not only as a reminder for those who remember the shrine, but of a history lesson for those not familiar with its past.

"I want to help people learn about the area," he said.

He said the book also has "sub stories," such as a tribute to Magdaline Kubeck, a Whiting woman who served as a nurse in World War II and was killed in action. A pond on the grounds is named after her. It also tells of the days the friars lived at Wolfe Mansion, down the road.

The hardest thing, said Lasayko, was editing down the material he had obtained.

"You don't want to throw anything away, but if you didn't you would have to have a 400-page book," he said.

For more information on the book and see a preview, visit blurb.com to find the book.

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