Welcome to The Grotto- The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother- one of the most beautiful Marian sanctuaries in the world. Perhaps no other spot on the entire North American continent blends religious significance so completely and so
harmoniously together with natural scenic beauty. The Sanctuary was established by the Servite Friars in 1924 as a memorial to Christ's dying appeal from the Cross, "Behold
Thy Mother." Hundreds of thousands of tourists and pilgrims visit each year. Some come to worship and others to enjoy The Grotto's natural charm. But all linger to share somehow in the quiet serenity of this shrine dedicated to Mary, Mother of Jesus. The central attraction, Our Lady's Grotto, was carved from solid basalt in the cliff wall in 1925. Above its natural rock altar is the white marble replica of Michelangelo's famed masterpiece, the Pieta. The original, completed by Michelangelo when he was only 24 years old and the only work on which he ever inscribed his name, is mounted in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. High above the grotto's cliff stands the bronze statue of Our Sorrowful Mother, designed especially for the Sanctuary and blessed in the Vatican by Pope Pius XI in 1934 to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Servite Order.
The Grotto offers a spectacular natural gallery of religious art with more than a hundred gracefully- sculpted statues and shrines nestled along its flower-lined pathways. Amid the natural beauty of this outdoor cathedral, visitors from many lands find inspiration and peace. The Grotto celebrates special liturgical events throughout the year, including Christmas & Holy Week liturgies, a special Mass on Mother's Day, a Freedom Day Mass on the Sunday closest to Independence Day, a St. Anne's Summer Twilight Retreat, the Blessing of Animals in July, and an evening mass and sundown candle light rosary procession, on the feast of The Assumption of Mary on August 15.