NATIONAL SHRINE GROTTO OF LOURDES
What's at the Grotto
The Grotto Cave
The Grotto Cave is the center of the Grotto. Located here are the beautiful statue of our Lady of Lourdes, hundreds of small and larger devotional candles, the Grotto stream, St. Bernadette’s statue and benches for reflection and peaceful repose.
Corpus Christi Chapel
Corpus Christi Chapel is the third chapel to stand on the blessed spot where Fr. DuBois originally began the Grotto by placing a cross in a large tree there. Constructed around 1908, its stone structure is a sturdy reminder of 200 years of faith, hope and love at the Grotto. The Holy Eucharist is kept here for devotion and prayer.
The Grotto tap, located alongside the pool below Corpus Christi Chapel, spills water directly out of the mountain from Mary’s mountain creek. The water is pure, fresh and quite clean. The Grotto spring water as it comes out of the tap is “blessed.” Any way you take it from the Grotto, the water still may remind you of Jesus Himself who is life-giving water. Some pilgrims visit just for the Grotto water. Many believe that its natural properties are cleansing and healthy for the body and soul; others believe it can heal. Although there are no documented miracles, many have reported favors and graces from drinking the Grotto spring water.
Due to state regulations, the water is filtered through an ultraviolet filter to cleanse it of any impurities or bacteria, but nothing is added.
Stone from the Grotto of Lourdes, France
On November 27, 2007 Most Rev. Jacques Perrier, Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, France, announced the 150th Jubilee Year honoring the anniversary of the apparitions of the Immaculate Conception to St. Bernadette Soubirous. The Bishop came to the United States to share the blessings of Lourdes with all Americans.
On December 1, Bishop Perrier visited our Grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg and offered Mass in the Chapel of St. Mary on the Hill. Following Communion, the Bishop gave a wonderful talk and presented the Grotto with a gift from Lourdes. This precious gift was a Stone from the Grotto of Lourdes in France, excavated right near the miraculous spring where the Blessed Virgin told St. Bernadette to dig and receive water. The Bishop said he was giving us this stone to “spiritually connect” us to the Lourdes Grotto in France and requested that it be placed in our Grotto, thus making us all members of the Lourdes Family.
The Stone has been installed at the Grotto Cave and is there for all of us to see and touch.
Pangborn Memorial Campanile
The bell tower, known as the Pangborn Memorial Campanile, was dedicated in 1967 as a gift of the Pangborn Foundation of Hagerstown, Maryland. It is 95 feet high and crowned with a 25-foot, gold-leafed bronze figure of the Blessed Mother. It stands on the site of Father DuBois’ original Church on the Hill, which burned down in 1913. The Campanile houses 14 cast bronze bells ranging from 99 to 1,408 pounds in weight. The bells were furnished by Petit and Fritsen, Ltd., Aarle-Ritel, Holland, and purchased from the I.T. Verdin Company in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Richard and Mary Lee Miller Family Visitors Center
This magnificent addition to the Grotto has been built for the convenience of our visitors. The Center houses administrative offices, restroom facilities, drink machines and a museum area, affording you an opportunity to learn of the history of Mount St. Mary’s University, Seminary and Grotto. Your visit would not be complete without stopping by St. Bernadette’s Shoppe and taking home a memento of your pilgrimage to this holy shrine.
St. Mary’s Chapel on the Hill
St. Mary’s Chapel on the Hill is the main chapel of the Grotto. It seats 450 people. The Chapel offers vistas of the valley below and mountainside around it.
Stations of the Cross
The Stations in the Catholic religion are a brilliant and beautiful devotion that helps pilgrims and all souls adore and appreciate Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for all sinners. The Stations were originally fashioned for devout Europeans who could not go to the Holy Land where Jesus lived, walked, suffered and died.
The Stations were formulated and fashioned in various levels of artistic intensity to recapitulate Jesus’ Passion. It is a custom of shrines and churches to have these stations within their bounds since, as St. Teresa of Avila once said, “There is no better mediation than the passion of the Lord.”
Traditionally prayed or walked on Fridays of Lent, they help the pilgrim to approach, interiorize and then respond to Jesus’ sacred suffering; how much God loves each of us sinners. (And, by the way, they’re not just for Lent anymore!)
At the Grotto, visitors can walk the Stations of the Cross as a powerful way to contemplate, and enter into, the mystery of Jesus' gift of himself to us.
The Rosary Walk
Rosary Lane, the lower path that leads back from the Grotto to the parking lot, includes 15 Mysteries of the Rosary mosaics imported from Italy in 1966. The Mysteries recount the biblical stories of Jesus and Mary. Pope John Paul II added five new Mysteries of Light (the Luminous Mysteries), which are also portrayed along the walk. See our Meditations on the Rosary.
The Lavang Shrine
We honor Our Lady of LaVang and the pilgrims who come here to pay Her homage. The entire memorial was given to the Shrine by Mr. & Mrs. Duong & Kim-Nga T. Tran, in loving memory of their parents and dedicated in 2009.
Pope John Paul II Memorial
A magnificent memorial honoring our beloved Pope John Paul II to be located on Rosary Lane.
Want to see where these places are located? Check out ourInteractive Map of the Grotto