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Beacon of Hope

Beacon of Hope

Grotto of Lourdes News
judeThe St. Jude statue and its newly surrounding shrine was rededicated on August 19 at the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. 
The statue was installed in the late 1990s due to the generosity of Dr. Vincent and Mrs. Amy Pisula. The Pisula family has had a great devotion to St. Jude, patron saint for desperate situations, for many years. 
The Staten family has also had a great dedication to St. Jude. Joe Staten, Mount St. Mary's University alumni (class of 1989), often walked the Grotto grounds when he attended the Mount. Today, Joe's daughter, Mary Catherine, is going to the Mount. The continuing legacy of Mounties and his love for the Grotto made Joe realize this national shrine is the best place to memorialize his father, Robert Shekletski. 
The Staten and Shekletski families made it possible for the St. Jude statue, given by Dr. and Mrs. Pisula nearly 20 years ago, to be commemorated with a patio and walls. The area now has become a shrine for the popular saint.
The rededication began with the celebration of Mass in St. Mary’s Chapel, a blessing at the St. Jude Shrine and ended with a private reception. Dr. and Mrs. Pisula, Mrs. Grace Shekletski (wife of the late Robert Shekletski), Mr. and Mrs. Joe Staten and other family members attended. 
(photo: Dr. Vincent Pisula visiting St. Jude Shrine at the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, August 19, 2014)

Fr. John Brute built a lovely bower as an entrance to the Grotto and this was enlarged and kept in repair through the years. Certainly in his day (circa 1827) and by his example, began the tradition of industrious devotion to Our Lady at the Grotto which was so well express by Dr. McSweeney in the Great Rule of the Seminary written in 1898:

Mountaineers"Of Devotion to Our Blessed Mother and the Grotto -- The Shrine on the mountain is dear to every heart that has beaten within the sound of the splashing stream tumbling past this holy spot. Fr. Brute, the Angel of the Mount, and Mistress, Seton (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton), the heroic foundress of the Sisters of Charity, sanctified the place by their visits and cherished it with loving care. The seminarians should care for its rustic beauty and cultivate, as a most precious flower, filial devotion to dearest Mother Mary."

The Seminary Sodality, first formed September 8, 1819, and reorganized in 1868, listed in its Rule as one of its duties "Keeping the Grotto in order." Through the years this loving care of the Grotto continued, each generation of Mountaineers adding its contribution of love and receiving its legacy of devotion.

processionA memorable devotion centered about the old Grotto was the annual Corpus Christi procession. It was during Archbishop Purcell's term as president of the college (1829-1833) that these annual processions to the Grotto over Brute's paths began, or at least began to be chronicled, and another charm was added to the Mountain.

The "Story of the Mountain" contains a number of articles by Mountaineers who try to put into words the unspeakable joy of their memory of these holy occasions. Reading them, we are reminded of the comment of the poet Miles: "Who can wonder that we turn with overflowing hearts to Mount Staint Mary's and speak to her with a tenderness that makes a worldling smile."

The lovely road between the site of the old church and the Grotto is still called the "Aisle of the Corpus Christi Procession."

duboisThere is a legend that Dubois, on one of his pastoral journeys, was attracted by a light on the mountain and found this blessed spot, one of the loveliest in the world, and there erected a rude cross in 1808.

Those of a more practical mind may surmise that Father Dubois was seeking the source of the stream which flowed out of the ravine into the valley below. In any event, John Dubois found the Grotto site, a dell of breath-taking beauty. It is worth a trip from the other side of the world just to see the natural beauty of the spot. 

Just what did John Dubois find on his day of discovery? He climbed a steep ascent through a rocky ravine along a tumbling torrent, which was much broader and more unruly than at present. About 500 yards above the present Mount St. Mary's University Main Campus, the priest came upon a lovely clearing, a masterpiece of natural beauty.

Sharply sloping hills from almost every side formed a natural amphitheater where nature "displayed itself in all its wild and picturesque beauty." In the center of the clearing, where now the Corpus Christi Chapel stands, Father Dubois saw a mound, shaded by the branches of an ancient oak. Such huge oak trees are seen even to this day on the mountain. With the passing of time, the earth had been washed out from beneath the great, gnarled roots of the oak. A recess or grotto was thus formed underneath the great trunk and the thick roots which overhung the bed of the stream. 

In the summertime when the stream was low, one could enter the grotto and find there a rustic room. Here John Dubois erected his cross, the symbol of the holy work he was undertaking. This was the original Grotto. 

DeafPriest'Inspiring' priest who is deaf leads inaugural pilgrimage in Archdiocese of Baltimore

May 19, 2014

By Jessica Marsala
EMMITSBURG – The Archdiocese of Baltimore's inaugural pilgrimage for people who are deaf May 17 was a rare opportunity for more than 80 Catholics who are deaf and partially deaf to learn more about their faith and to more actively participate in Mass.
Father Michael Depcik of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales and the Archdiocese of Detroit, one of the few Catholic priests in the United States who is deaf, led the pilgrims to the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and then the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, both of which are in Emmitsburg.

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(Photo: Father Michael Depcik, one of the few priests in the United States who is deaf, gives his homily during Mass at the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Emmitsburg May 17, part of a pilgrimage for people who are deaf coordinated by the Archdiocese of Baltimore. (CR Staff | Jessica Marsala))

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