Located in a beautiful, wooded area, the Lourdes Grotto was among the first devotional sites completed at the Shrine. It is a replica of the famed Lourdes Grotto in France where Our Lady appeared in 1858 to a young, peasant girl named Bernadette Soubirous.
During the Grotto construction, finding a way to preserve the contours of the hillside while simulating the appearance of a rock cavern was a
decided challenge for engineers. A local artisan proposed a way to duplicate the grotto at Lourdes. Dirt was piled up in such a way as to form a mold for the cavern.
Cement was poured over, around and behind the dirt mold to form a 3′ thick cement shell. The dirt was removed after the cement hardened and put on top of the structure. The result was nearly an exact reproduction scaled to two-thirds the size of the original Lourdes Grotto in France.
In 1961, the tenth Annual Solemn Novena – the first held at the Shrine’s present location – was held at the Lourdes Grotto.
Today, the Lourdes Grotto is beautifully landscaped with flower gardens, trees and shrubs and has been a favorite devotional site for pilgrims
visiting the Shrine. A secluded altar is set within the Grotto for the occasional Mass, devotional service or wedding ceremony.