Tuesday, November 17, 2009

#61: The Grotto

“Every university has a place where students hang out for their social life, libraries where they study, and playing fields where they play sports, but how many have a praying place?” –Fr. Hesburgh (see #56)

There are many places on campus that are important to many students.  While students have special connections with their dorms, favorite classroom buildings, study spaces, or dining halls; all Notre Dame Students have an affinity for The Grotto making it one of the most sacred and beloved places on campus.

Tucked away behind the Basilica and facing out towards St. Mary’s Lake, The Grotto is far from being the most prominent or central location on campus.  Built with rocks and adorned with candles and statues, there is nothing immensely impressive about The Grotto.  But as the Stadium is loved for its traditions and grandiosity, and the Dome for being an icon; The Grotto is beloved because of its tranquility and simplicity.

There are no ancillary usages or purposes of The Grotto.  No statues mixing religious iconography with that of football.  No traditions of shotgunning beers or trying to hook up.  Notre Dame Students use it for prayer, not to prove how religious they are, but just to pray because they want or need to.

The Grotto is the place where Students go when they most need it, or when they don’t need it at all.  They go there when they are feeling homesick.  They go there when a relative is sick or has died.  They go there when they have lost their way.  Some students go there regularly to pray, while other students go there more infrequently.  All spend at least a little time there over the course of their four years to think in silent reflection and maybe light a candle [although they rarely leave an offering for said candle, see #3].

Notre Dame Students love The Grotto not because of its beauty or history, but because it is there for them when they need it most.  They love The Grotto because it is theirs, and they love The Grotto because it is one of the many things that are truly unique about Notre Dame.


  1. haha funny! i wanna go to Notre Dame!!!!!!!

  2. And sometimes they go there to get engaged.

  3. boring really boring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!