History of the grotto

The plaque installed in the Grotto

The plaque installed in the Grotto

We walk by it every day going to our classes, we’ve prayed by it and we’ve admired it. But where did it come from? When did we get it? We all know the history of the PIT, or the Fieldhouse, the 4th floor, or even the school itself, but what about the Grotto?

The Grotto is one of the many famous places throughout Elder High School. It is a well-known spot to all of current Elder students and Elder grads. Kneeling before it has become a tradition of all Elder students and is part of our Elder nature. Being a catholic High School, it is necessary to have a place like the Grotto to take part in team prayers or small masses. The Grotto began being built in the school year of 1949-1950. The Class of 1951 finally finished the project in the fall of 1951. It was built to honor Mary, the blessed Mother as seen by the statue.

To understand the Grotto and what it truly is, you would have to take part in a prayer held there. It has been described as the quietest and most peaceful place to pray. It’s out in nature, with no noise around makes it easy to connect with God at such a peaceful place.

Many of us know the Grotto as a place to pray before or after our games. One sport in particular takes part in after game prayers. All three football teams freshman, JV and Varsity, all kneel before the statue and pray for those injured in the game, or thanking God for giving them the ability to play the game. I talked to senior football player, Ben Smith about how the grotto applies to Varsity football. “After any game, home or away, we always go down to the Grotto and take a knee. We talk about the game, and pray either a Hail Mary or an Our Father. After we finish praying the captains talk about the game and how we can improve.”

Class of 1950, creators of  the grotto gather for their reunion
Class of 1950, creators of the grotto gather for their reunion

Just this past Friday, October 18th, members from the class of 1950 gathered around the Grotto to dedicate a plaque installed near the Grotto, recognizing them for their hard work and dedication on building the Grotto. Without that class, we may never have had something as great and beautiful as the Grotto to pray at. The plaque set-forth near the Grotto shows appreciation to Jim Albers ’50 for dedicating his time to keep the Grotto looking good.