Shrine in Marija Bistrica became the national shrine in 1715 when the Croatian parliament built a big votive altar at the church in Marija Bistrica. As Marian devotions grew and many prayers got answered by seeking intercession of Saint Mary of Bistrica, the shrine’s church became tight and too small so Bistrica’s parish priest Juraj Žerjavić had the church and the parish house with arcades extended and reconstructed following the designs of architect Friedrich von Schmidt and his student Hermann Bollé. The new church was built in Neo-Renaissance style.

The first large celebration in Marija Bistrica was on 15 August 1971 when the XIII. International Marian Congress was held there. That year, the bishops proclaimed the shrine Croatian national shrine of Saint Mary of Bistrica.