Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Grotto Pilgrimage

Recently I came across the song title “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing,” by Jack Johnson. When I read it, I thought of all the things in our world and church today for which we are sitting, waiting, wishing. Sometimes we feel helpless in the face of the enormous challenges all around us: the oil spill off the shore of Louisiana; the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the horror of physical abuse of children in China and the horror of sexual abuse within our church; the stumbling and lurching of the global economy that affects thousands of lives. But on the cool, rainy evening of May 12 a group of pilgrims were Walking, Believing and Praying together. On that evening we did not feel helpless but only filled with peace and warmed by the solidarity we experienced in the pilgrimage.

About twenty people joined together at the monastery for a pilgrimage to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. Many of the participants called to mind past religious processions that bonded people together in prayer. Our pilgrimage began in the Gathering Place of Sacred Heart Chapel, where participants where handed lighted candles, colorful scarves and baskets of flowers. Before beginning the procession, those gathered could write a petition that they would later place in the cracks of the stones.

The grotto was designed by Raphael Knapp, OSB, brother of Sisters Felicitas and Justina Knapp and was built in 1910. In 1939 the grotto was redesigned and dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, and in 2005 it was repaired. Sometime in the 1960s the statue of Bernadette disappeared. This year, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the grotto, Oblates and donors Lynn and John Crowley generously decided to donate a statue of St. Bernadette to be placed at the grotto for its centennial. The statue arrived in Minneapolis from Rome on May 10. The Crowleys carefully put her on a truck for the trip to St. Joseph. Bernadette is permanently in place now at the grotto.

You are invited to visit the grotto, to bring your own hopes and prayers and place them in a niche in the stones. Spend a few moments at the grotto, and on your way back stop at the sculpture of the Crucifixion in our cemetery where Mary also is and pray for your beloved dead. Then stop at the fish pond and pray for the healing of our earth. You might close your pilgrimage by stopping at the statue of Mary in Sacred Heart Chapel. Sitting, waiting and wishing are good, and so are walking, believing and praying.
photos: statue of Bernadette with lilacs at the end of the Grotto pilgrimage on May 12 (photo by S. Linda Dusek); petitions tucked into the stones of the grotto; for more photos of the pilgrimage and delivery of St. Bernadette on our Facebook page, click here

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how I'd love to come and enjoy this beautiful, peaceful place. Your story made me feel like I was right there with you. Blessings to all of you.