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

Prayer to the Mary, Pilgrim Mother of Jesus

Rejoice, Mary, full of grace!

Mother of Jesus you saw your Son grow in wisdom and strength.

After a three-day search in Jerusalem you found your twelve-year old Son in the midst of the doctors of the Temple who were amazed at his intelligence and answers.

You heard him read in the synagogue and preach with authority.

Teach us how to dance when your Son plays the music of the Gospel in our hearts.

Teach us to guide the growth and education of the young people in our lives, and to share with them the Gospel values that inspire us.

Mary, ask your son to bless and protect our children and young people.

Mary, pray for us.

Fr. Don Siple, OSM, Rector of The Grotto
Pray with Fr. Richard

Join Fr. Richard Boyle, OSM, in an intercessory prayer for help during the pandemic.

Recorded outside The Grotto Monastery.

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.

Beginning this week, The Grotto Gift Shop is once again open. There will be strict guidelines for shopping, and the rest of The Grotto will remain closed. However, we are pleased to be making this first step.

To learn more about guidelines for shopping in this early phase of reopening, please  click here .

In the meantime, we hope you continue to enjoy our daily emails.
Day 68: The Visitor Center
The Visitor Center (1955/Rebuilt 2001)

The Grotto's Visitor Center is located next to the Chapel of Mary on the lower level. The lower level is free to all throughout the year.

For several decades after the Chapel was built, a gift shop was housed in this spot. In 2001, The Grotto Gift Shop moved to a new building by the main parking lot, and the old building was redesigned to hold the Visitor Center on the plaza level, and The Grotto Conference Center on the lower level.

The arcade outside the current visitor center, which was built at the same time as the Chapel of Mary, still stands.
The Holy Family

On the exterior of the Visitor Center, statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph greet all visitors, along with the words "Behold The Mother" and "Behold Thy Son."
Inside the Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is not only a place to engage with history, but also 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.
History of The Grotto

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.

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.

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.
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.
On May 29, 1924, three thousand people gathered for the first Mass and Dedication of the Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother.

To learn more about the history of The Grotto, click here to view an earlier edition of "Bringing The Grotto to You."
The Grotto Theater

At the back of the Visitor Center, there is a small theater where visitors can watch a video about The Grotto and its history.

The video is also available for purchase in the Visitor Center or Gift Shop.
Art in the Visitors Center

The Grotto Visitor Center has some splendid pieces of art, including these two bronze scuptures by Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz. Some of his most reputed pieces are installed in historical churches in Rome and at the Vatican. He describes his most important work as visual translations of the Bible.


St. Juan Diego: Arguably one of the most popular Hispanic saints of modern time, in this masterpiece Timothy has captured that miraculous moment where St. Juan fell to his knees before Bishop Zumárraga and the image appeared on his tilma. Timothy created the original life size bronze sculpture for the Basilica in Guadalupe Mexico where it sits today.

A Quiet Moment: Jesus, Mary and Joseph portrayed in perfect harmony, love and peace. A celebration of the purity of love.
We invite you to come and check out all the beautiful pieces in The Grotto Visitor Center.
Madonnas from Around the World

More than 100 Madonna statues from around the world are on display in the Visitor Center.

Most of these statues were gathered into a collection by Midge and Al Storatz of Westminster, Colorado, who donated them to The Grotto.

We know you will enjoy viewing all the different interpretations.
Early Oregon Marian Shrine

This Marian devotional shrine was used by Jesuit Fr. Pierre Jean De Smet in his missionary work in Oregon. Born in Belgium in 1801, Fr. De Smet worked among Native American tribes from Iowa to the Oregon Territory.

In 1944, together with six members of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, he helped establish the first Catholic mission church in Oregon on the Willamette Rivers near the town of St. Paul.

Fr. De Smet and the six Notre Dame Sisters were given this shrine in 1844 in Europe by Mother Constantine, the Superior of the Sisters of Notre Dame, for the missionary work they were undertaking in the Oregon Territory. It was placed upon the church altar when they arrived in St. Paul.

When the Sisters of Notre Dame later left for Californian, they presented this shrine to Archbishop Blanchet, Oregon's first archbishop.

Years later, the archbishop gave the shrine to his neice; she eventually gave it to her godchild, Mary Simon Waltz, who gave the shrine to her three neices, Helen Simon Wilken, Arolene Simon La Bree, and Serena Simon Netter. These three donated the shrine to The Grotto in 2000.
Saint Raphael Statue

Saint Raphael is an archangel, an angel of the highest rank - in the Roman Catholic tradition. His name in Hebrew means "It is God who heals." Raphael is mentioned by name in the Old Testament book of Tobit, where, as a messenger of God, Raphael brings healing to the blinded Tobit, ensures the happy marraige of Sarah and Tobian, and restore the losses of the family.

In addition to his role as an intercessory for healing, Saint Raphael is considered the patron of nurses, physicians and medical workers.

Saint Raphael shares a Feast Day with the archangels Michael and Gabriel on September 29.

It is believed that this statue of San Rafael was originally installed in a Catholic church, monastery or convent in Mexico, but was removed from there as a result of the seizure of church property and the closure of monasteries, convents and religious schools in Mexico, most likely under the presidency of Plutarco Elias Calles (1924-1928).

The statue eventually found its way to El Paso, Texas, where it was sold as a garden statue to James and Martha McCourt in the 1970s. The McCourts placed the statue in a place of honor in their home, where this image of San Raphael provided comfort and consolation to the family for many decades.

In Augsst of 2015, through the generosity of the McCourt family, the statue found its new home at The Grotto, where it guards all those who visit the theater in the Visitor Center.
A Prayer for our Visitors

Gracious God,

May we extend your boundless hospitality to all who visit our Sanctuary.

May we approach each person not as a mere visitor, but as a guest that we have prepared for and anxiously awaited their arrival.

May we encounter each and every Pilgrim as a brother or sister seeking you.

May our words, and actions, as well as the gardens, shrines, artwork, and chapels here surround them with your eternal message of hope, love and salvation.

Memorial Day Candles at The Grotto

Purchase a candle to be lighted in memory of someone. 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.

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.

Purchase a Gift Certificate

Not sure what to get someone? Or perhaps you would just like to support The Grotto during our closure?

A Gift Certificate to The Grotto Gift Shop is a great gift. It can be used to purchase admission to the Upper Gardens, candles or store merchandise.

 Shop Online

Check out our online shop if you are unable to visit. And if you don't see something you are interesting in our online shop, feel free to contact our Director of Retail Operations by  clicking here  and we can make arrangements.
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
Chapel of Mary

Week 6
Come to the Water
Our Lady of Lavang Shrine
Celebrating God's Creation
Our Lady of Lourdes
The Labyrinth
Looking Out a Window
How The Grotto Began

Week 7
The Cliff and Elevator
Lithuanian Wayside Shrine
The Grotto by the Numbers
Music at The Grotto
May Flowers
Take a Closer Look
Outdoor Mass

Week 8
The Feast of St. Peregrine
Celebrating Your Favorites
A Year at The Grotto
The Seven Holy Founders
Views and Perspectives
The Rhododendrons
Mother's Day at The Grotto

Week 9
Twilight at The Grotto
The Peace Pole
Our Lady of Czestochowa Polish Shrine
A Seat Waiting for You
The Murals
Mosaics of The Grotto
The Chapel Saints

Week 10
The Grotto Gift Shop
Architecture of The Grotto
A Retreat at The Grotto
Today: The Visitor Center
The Grotto
The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother

NE 85th & Sandy Blvd.
Portland, Oregon