Welcome to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. My name is Sarah and I’m from Idaho.
We’re standing here today on the banks of the Saint Mary’s and Saint Joseph’s Lake. Our founder, Father Sorin made many trips to France in the early history of our school. On many of those trips, he would visit the Grotto in France where Mary appeared to Saint Bernadette. He would see the thousands of pilgrims and he knew that he wanted to build a place like this on campus for the Notre Dame students. And so in 1896, they built this one seventh replica of the Grotto at Lourdes using two-ton boulders from the South Bend farmlands area and one small rock from the original Grotto in France. You can see this rock directly below the statue of Mary.
This is a very popular place for all kinds of visitors and alumni and students. The Rosary is said daily at 6:45 pm and on special occasions there are Masses here; but no matter what time of day or night you come, you can always find people here praying and lighting candles and offering intentions.
For a student, the most popular times to come are during exam weeks and also big football games. During Senior Commencement Week, there’s a very important last event called the Senior Last Visit to the Grotto. It’s one of the most special times where you make your last trip with songs and prayer with your whole class to the Grotto.
For many alumni the Grotto is the first place they’ll visit when they come to campus, and the last place they’ll visit before they leave.