A Place of Sanctuary
Bringing The Grotto to You
Daily Spiritual Reflection

What a walk can do. Studies have shown that walking can have positive benefits for one’s life. From supporting good physical health to maintaining positive mental health, a walk can do wonders. A walk affords the opportunity to get some exercise. It allows us time to enjoy the company of others and to revel in the beauty of the world around us. It can be a time for recollecting the day and for prayer. A walk can do wonders for us.

Cleopas and his companion never realized what their walk to Emmaus would do for them. It was the first day of the week and their group had received some astounding news. Their Master and Lord, Jesus, had risen from the dead. The grief at Jesus’ death and now this incredible news was just too much to bear. They needed to get out of Jerusalem. They walk to Emmaus, a familiar place where they can sort through all they believed and hoped for in Jesus. As they walk, they converse between themselves and with a stranger, about the happenings of the last three days and what faith in Jesus meant. As they talked, their hearts burned with hope. They never doubted Jesus, they just needed to make sense of what it meant to have faith in him. Over a simple meal, they realize Jesus was with them then, before, and always. They realized that faith always holds us close to God no matter what we are experiencing.

Our faith always keeps the Lord close to us. Maybe we need to take more walks with Jesus, letting our prayer be the means of connecting with the Lord who is always near. Such an exercise will help bring clarity to our faith and provide the experience of God wrapping us in His love. Cleopas and his companion never knew that their walk would be the means to see Jesus. A walk with the Lord can do the same for us. In prayer we will feel the Lord close, ministering love and peace to us in these challenging times. A walk with Jesus today can do wonders for us now and eternally.
Fr. Don Siple, OSM, Rector of The Grotto.
Light a Candle at The Grotto

Purchase a candle to be lighted at The Grotto. Your candle will burn for seven days in the outdoor cradles by The Grotto.

Your support will help The Grotto continue its ministry through this difficult time.

If you have questions or would like assistance purchasing a candle, please contact Lori Warner-McGee at lwarner@thegrotto.org .

Bringing The Grotto to You

We will continue to share a piece of The Grotto with you each day until Masses resume and our gardens open. We hope this feature brings you joy.

Please share our emails with friends and family. Help spread the word that The Grotto is here, and looking forward to the glorious day when we can reopen our gates.
Day 41: How The Grotto Began
Servite Fr. Ambrose Mayer

The story of The Grotto begins at the end of the 19th century, with a young boy who learned that his mother lay near death after giving birth to a daughter. In tears, the boy ran to the little parish church in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. He prayed to the Virgin Mary for his mother's life, promising that if she were spared he would one day undertake a great work for the church.

Both his mother and baby sister survived, and the future Fr. Ambrose Mayer never forgot his promise.
The Story of the Shrine

As a young man he joined the Servite Order and in 1918 Fr. Ambrose Mayer was sent to minister as the first Servite pastor in Oregon. He carried with him the desire to fulfill his childhood promise, often disclosing to his associates his dream of finding a site on which to build a suitable tribute to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Union Pacific Railroad Land

Fr. Mayer came across some acreage in 1923 which was owned by the Union Pacific Railroad Company. It was rugged, untamed wilderness that was once a quarry used to obtain rock for rail beds, and was currently scheduled for sale as residential property. He saw this as a natural cathedral which, once cleaned up, was perfect for the realization of his dream.

Although the asking price was $48,000, Fr. Mayer was not deterred. With the enthusiastic encouragement and approval of Archbishop Alexander Christie, Fr. Mayer bid all that he had - $3,000 - which was accepted as an initial down payment. A national campaign provided the balance of the funds.
The Letter from Pope Pius XI

Crowning the initiation of the project was a letter from Pope Pius XI, written in his own hand, imparting a Special Apostolic Blessing to all those who "in any way or measure, show their good will and assist in the erecting of the Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother in Portland."
Work Began in 1923

In September of 1923, the work began. A cave was carved out of the 110-foot basalt cliffside, and a stone altar built, above which was placed a depiction of Mary holding the body of her Son after his crucifixion. A replica of Michelangelo's Pieta was added several years later.
Dedication of the Shrine

On May 29, 1924, three thousand people gathered for the first Mass and Dedication of the Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother. At the blessing, Archbishop Alexander Christie offered this prayer:

"Let this be a sanctuary of peace for all peoples of the earth, and surely in this day a sanctuary is needed. Torn with differences, strife, and grief, the world needs sanctuary where the human spirit can seek peace and consolation."
The Dream of One Man
Today, we welcome people from around the world, people of all faiths and no faith. Without exception our visitors speak of the peace they experience here in the spiritual and natural beauty of this holy sanctuary, where God's presence abounds and where special tribute is given to Mary, the Sorrowful Mother of Jesus.

The Grotto continues to change over the years to meet the needs of the people in an ever-changing world. The dream, work and promise of one man have become the ministry of all who serve here.
Photos from the Past

We hope you enjoy this brief travel back in time to the earliest years of The Grotto.
The Visitor Center

To learn more about The Grotto's history, be sure to visit the Visitor Center. There you can learn more about these photographs and watch a 13-minute historic video in our theater. You can also purchase the presentation on DVD in the Visitor Center or Gift Shop.
The Visitor Center is located next to the Chapel of Mary on the lower level of The Grotto. The lower level is free to all throughout the year.

The Visitor Center is not only a place to engage with history, but a place to chat with a Servite Friar, to sit and have some refreshments, to view some beautiful art, to buy a candle to light, or simply to rest.

We invite you all to stop by the Visitor Center the next time you are at The Grotto.
The Grotto Gift Shop

The Grotto Gift Shop is open for curbside pick-up or online shipping during our closure. You can shop online, or check out our Curbside Shopping page on our website.

If you do not see what you are looking for, feel free to contact our director of retail operations by clicking here .

Below are just a few of the seasonal items available. Please check out our online shop and our curbside shopping page to learn more.
Mass Enrollment Cards
Perpetual Enrollment in The Grotto’s Guild of Masses and Prayer honors yourself, your family or your loved ones, and provides support for The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother.

The Series

We hope you are enjoying our daily feature A Place of Sanctuary: Bringing The Grotto to You.

Week 1
St. Francis of Assisi
Celebrating St. Patrick's Day
St. Anne's Chapel
St. Joseph's Grove
The Marilyn Moyer Meditation Chapel
Spring in the Garden
Our Lady's Grotto

Week 2
St. Jude Thaddeus
Statue of Mary, Our Mother
The Pollinator Garden
St. Philip Benizi's Retreat
Pathways of The Grotto
St. Peregrine Shrine
The Servites

Week 3
Here Light Shines
The Peace Garden
Looking Up
Feast of Our Lady at the Foot of the Cross
The Rose Garden
Palm Sunday, The Christus Garden

Week 4
Crosses and Crucifixes
Sacred Heart Statue
Angels of The Grotto
Holy Thursday of The Lord's Supper
Good Friday, Stations of the Cross
Holy Saturday, Via Matris
Easter Sunday

Week 5
The Forest
Blessing of the Animals
Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine
Colors of The Grotto
Mysteries of the Rosary
Lighting a Candle
The Chapel of Mary

Week 6
Come to the Water
Our Lady of Lavang Shrine
Celebrating God's Creation on Earth Day
Our Lady of Lourdes
The Labyrinth
Looking Out a Window
Today: How The Grotto Bega n
The Grotto
The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother

NE 85th & Sandy Blvd.
Portland, Oregon