Each year, Marianists worldwide observe the Sunday closest to the Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar (October 12) to pray with the Marianist Family. The Marianist World Day of Prayer reflects Blessed William Joseph Chaminade’s time praying before the Shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar in Saragossa, Spain. The World Family Council selects a specific Marian shrine as a focal point for the world day of prayer. The Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto at Mount St. John, in Dayton, Ohio - just a quick walk from the NACMS office - was this year’s location.
Completed in 1929, the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto at Mount St. John is a near replica of the Massabielle Grotto in Lourdes, France. Landscaper George Siebenthaler and Bro. Michael Mertes, SM, designed the Dayton location, and Marianist novices assisted with the grotto’s construction between 1925 and 1929. The stones that make up the structure are tufa rock, which were formed from Great Lakes water and spring water mixing. The grotto is a bona fide “Mary Garden” with its blanket of plants, such as roses, columbines, hostas, and marigolds, symbolizing the Blessed Virgin Mary.