In relation to holy week, this post is in perfect timing, I thought. Last weekend before we ended mom's birthday celebration and before we headed back to the place where we live which was two and a half hours away via roadtrip, we went to The Grotto for the second time and attended mass since it was a Sunday. If you still remember last December, we went there the first time at night time and enjoyed the popular "Festival of Lights" and as what other people said, there are so many things to look forward to this place during daytime. I guess by that weekend, it was our time to foresee it and be thankful for His creations. Now, I'd like to share with you guys how wonderful, sacred and inspiring this place is! Although this was really unplanned in the first place, we were more than glad everything was in good flow.
The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother commonly known as 'The Grotto' is a 62-acre Catholic shrine and botanical garden, solely supported by the proceeds of its gift shop and donations. In other words, it was built by a non-profit organization. Amazing, right? It is also administered by the Order of Friars, Servants of Mary, USA Province. But even though it is located in the US, a lot of its donations come from across the world and they're also planning on making different shrines representing different countries. We'll get to more of that later on the second part of this post. I've also noticed some Filipino priests when I was there and quite a lot of Filipinos so I'm assuming some of them give donations there. Anyone could donate for sure, check here if you're interested on helping them build what they want to show the world.
This is the large life-size replica of Michaelangelo's Pietà. It is one of the known spot here and it looks really great in reality! This is the first one you'll notice at your right the moment you enter.
The church and the building at the left is a gift shop and the place where you'll buy the candles. The bigger gift shop is on a separate building, it's the first one you'll see the moment you enter and the last one when you'll exit the place.
At the topmost part of the replica, you'll see this tall statue and this will tell you that there's more interesting things up there.
The grotto itself. I love how the huge rocks make a spiritual feel as if you're in the real place where Mary appeared.
The rest of the photos shows the upper level. Looking at these photos right now sure makes me want to go back there and meditate! The upper level consists of religious artworks, the botanical garden (which was so amazing and surreal!), Servite Monastery (the one across the well), Meditation Chapel and the Cascades. This is just half of the upper place. More of these on the second part of this post.