Grotto to be closed March 14-18 as part of maintenance plan

by Dennis Brown

Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes

The Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes at the University of Notre Dame will be closed from 8 a.m. March 14 to 3 p.m. March 18 (spring break) as part of a long-range maintenance and care plan for the religious shrine.

During the temporary closure, candles will be available for lighting and accommodations will be made for the nightly rosary, both outside the kneeling rail.

A fire July 26 caused damage to the interior of the Grotto. Restoration at the time included cleaning soot from the stone surfaces of the shrine, removing melted wax from the floor, repairing damaged candle racks and inspecting the structure to ensure the interior was safe for use.

From March 14 to 18, digital scanning technology will be used to develop a three-dimensional model of the Grotto. The model will be used to understand and document for historical purposes how the Grotto was built and for tracking future maintenance and repairs, specifically its periodic cleaning and tuck-pointing.

Built in 1896, Notre Dame’s Grotto is one-seventh the size of the famed French shrine where the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Bernadette on 18 occasions in 1858.