The Shrine of the Blessed Mother (a.k.a. the Virgin of the Parkway) located off of Wakefield Street in South Oakland came into existence in 1956. Multiple accounts of miraculous visions surround the shrine’s early creation identify Sophie Toma, Anna Cybak, Mary Sunyoga, and Phillip Marraway as the shrine’s founders and caretakers. Over the course of several decades to today the shrine would have multiple caretakers and evolve to include structural, sculpted, and landscaped elements. It would also face, and survive, multiple threats to its existence.
The Shrine is historically significant because of its meaning and importance to the community of worshipers who have provided for its upkeep and growth for the past six decades and its association with the period of rapid expansion of Pittsburgh's freeway system. It is also significant because of its unique connection to Pittsburgh’s natural springs and its visual prominence on the hillsides of South Oakland.
This nomination was researched and written at the request of Council President Bruce Kraus, in whose district the Shrine resides.