While DJ did her 3hrs of taekwondo today, Indigo and I drove up the road to The Grotto. The Grotto is a neat place in a forested area. Before we went, I had to take a picture of the Hollywood Theater – a neat theater they are in the process of restoring back to its full glory.
The Grotto is your typical Catholic Shrine for Mary – “Our Sorrowful Mother”. I always love the caves where the shrines are created. There was a grotto near my home town, and despite my young age, I remember it quite vividly. It’s what happens when you are raised by a recovering Catholic. You get enough Catholicism to make you dangerous.
The first time I visited The Grotto in Portland, it was Christmas time. It was quite amazing – the lights, the music, the choirs. I had taken my parents, and it left an impression. I had wanted to go back during the day to see it. So, off we went.
I hadn’t thought about the fact Indigo would have questions. And boy, did she have them. We spent a lot of time talking about the place. I showed her the grotto – which was full of icicles from the recent snow and melt. We talked about the prayer candles. A family was lighting a few with their prayers written on them. We talked about the pews in the plaza and how people would kneel to pray.
We talked about the various saints around the plaza. St Peregrine, for example, the patron saint of cancer patients. Thankfully these were labeled. We ran into two nus dressed in more traditional habits. And we saw more saints:
But, she really wanted to understand why this guy Jesus died. Why was his mom holding him – and why was he important. We talked about the story. We walked the stages of the cross. She read the descriptions, I filled in the blanks. I was happy it was just her and me. I could hear in my head my dad getting excited by her questions and wanting to share more of the story with her. Yeah, not yet.
When we were done, I told her she now understand one religion. “Thanks for telling me religion, Moe,” was her response. Then we went and got a cocoa for her and a coffee for me. It was fucking cold.
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I am not at all religious, and certainly was never Catholic, but I find these grottos beautiful and haunting. I can appreciate medieval religious art.
On our way down to Maryland where my hub takes his finals for school, we pass the Mount St Mary’s University and Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. What pulled me in at first is this gigantic gold statue visible from the highway. Beautiful and eye-catching. So I looked it up online when I went home and saw the grotto photos. Not being Catholic or in a Catholic area I’d never seen anything like it, this shrine in a cave. Part of me feels like it would be somehow wrong for me to visit it because I’m atheist but there’s parts of it that I can really appreciate the beauty and meaning of.
Bah, was signed in under the wrong g-mail account when I commented, that was me! Lol
I love that word….”Grotto”. To me, it sounds like an elegant place. You have the woods…and then you have the “Grotto” within. A small little hideaway to escape the turmoil.
These are beautiful pics.