The grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in St. Albert is a replica of the popular pilgrimage site in Lourdes, France.
Originally it was built in 1920 by some young Oblate Brothers, who were studying at the local seminary, with river stones brought up from farms and the Sturgeon River. The parents of the Brothers pooled together money to purchase the statues of Our Lady and St. Bernadette.
Over the years, plants and a crumbling structure became unsafe, and so in 1955 the grotto was rebuilt using the original stones and in 1957, using leftover stones from the original grotto, the 14 stations of the cross were built near the grotto as well.
Historic note: In 1920 the cost of building the grotto was $80 and in 1957 the cost to rebuild the grotto was $14 000!
Currently, the statues of Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette are getting makeovers in preparation for the annual pilgrimage celebration held on Mission Hill each year in August. Our Lady is being painted and we can’t wait for her grand unveiling!
If you are interested in knowing more about the history of the Grotto, please visit the Father Lacombe Chapel this summer (open 10am – 5pm every day until Labour Day) and enjoy a tour of Mission Hill and the Grotto with our summer interpreters, or contact the Musée Héritage Museum Archives at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 780-459-1528.