St. Anthony’s chapel, set in a small neighborhood overlooking Pittsburgh, PA, houses the largest collection of religious relics in the world outside the Vatican.
Father Mollinger, an immigrant from Belgium, left the world of medicine to serve his faith. When he learned of mass amounts of relics without homes in Europe, he personally collected them with his own funds. When there were too many in his home to continue living alongside them, he built the chapel and housed the relics there.
Father Mollinger was known for his healing abilities. When he arrived in Pittsburgh there were no doctors and so he began helping people with their ailments. He built an apothecary alongside the church, and started making medicines for people. He believed that the medicines combined with spiritual guidance such as instructions on doing certain prayers or not eating meat on Fridays (as Catholics of the time did not) led to miraculous healings like those done in Jesus’s time and indeed the pile of left over canes, crutches and other evidence from those experiencing cures seems to support this belief.
After his death, Mollinger’s medicines continued to be sold for use in mainstream pharmacy.
Know Before You Go
The church is a functioning church and thus respectful behavior is expected, however, audio tours are sometimes broadcast into the church when requested. There are nearly 6,000 relics on display from skulls to teeth to bloody cloth and even a piece supposedly from the crown of thorns and cross used in Jesus' crucifixion. The church had an add on with anatomically correct, nearly life-sized stations of the cross as well as beautiful stained glass windows. Across the street is a gift shop, and above the gift shop is a museum with some of the remaining crutches/canes, home service kits for last rites and healing work, personal belongings of Father Mollinger and even some of his original medicines.
There is no cost to visit the museum or church, but a $10 donation is requested per person to visit and a $3 donation is requested if you'd like to light a candle in the church.