Nestled in the woods just off of busy Sandy Boulevard in Northeast Portland sits The Grotto, a 62-acre Catholic shrine designed for peace, prayer, and solitude. Dedicated to Mary, the shrine is in a quiet, beautifully landscaped location and is open to the public for reflection year-round.
Established in 1924 by Friar Ambrose Mayer, the Grotto began as a natural cathedral carved out of the 110-foot basalt rock that stood in the center of the property.
By 1953, the Chapel of Mary was built and dedicated. In 1983 the chapel was declared a National Sanctuary.
Botanical gardens encompass the shrine and chapel, with trails and forests.
There are numerous pieces of artwork throughout the garden, as well as many places to sit in quiet reflection.
Many of the statues throughout the garden are made of Carrara marble.
Visitors are also invited to walk the stations of the cross, depicted in large forms throughout the garden.
This wooded environment makes it easy to go at your own pace and reflect as needed on the way.
The natural sanctuary is used for a weekly outdoor mass, weather permitting, while all other masses are conducted in the Chapel of Mary.
This outdoor sanctuary is a lovely place to take in a service. Occasionally the grounds are also host to musical performances as well.
In the winter, the Grotto hosts a Festival of Lights, which brings thousands of visitors throughout the season.
Whatever time you visit though, be sure to leave plenty of time for a little quiet reflection in nature.
This one-of-a-kind shrine is worth a visit, and hopefully you will achieve a little peace with your visit to this beautiful setting.