One of the features of Millie’s butterfly garden will be a grotto, which will house a Virgin Mary statue and Millie’s urn. This past week with the help of a backhoe, Chou Chou and family have been taking huge (read: ginormous, 3k pound) pieces of granite and creating a mini Stonehenge that will serve as a foundation for the grotto. We will leave the foundation to settle for some months before adding on to it, but if you notice the empty bags of concrete (60+!!) in the bottom left picture, I think you’ll agree the foundation is solid.
As we have been explaining our butterfly garden projects, many have asked, “What is a grotto?” and until I met my husband, and visited his grandparents’ house in Upstate New York, I didn’t know either. Chou Chou comes from a Roman Catholic family, and his grandparents had a grotto built into a hill which could be seen from their kitchen window. It’s a cave-like opening made of stone that houses a Virgin Mary statue. For Chou Chou, growing up with a grotto in his grandparents’ yard, where he spent a lot of time, this is something that is very close to his heart.
For me, growing up outside of Roman Catholicism- their history and culture- I have been doing some research to better understand what a grotto is. Since many people have asked me, I decided to see if I could find a better explanation other than a very vague “a Roman Catholic shrine-thing.”
Aleteia.org has an informative article about grottoes…Other Catholic websites have similar information.
Below are some pictures of grottoes around the world. Top left is the Lourdes Grotto, picture taken by José Luis. Top right is a photo from the Notre Dame Parish in New York. Bottom photo is a picture of the grotto at Versailles, taken by Rennett Stowe.
I had no idea that Versailles had une grotte (grotto). I’ve visited the château a few times, and although I had seen a lot, I was reminded that I haven’t seen it all.
I am not sure exactly what kind of grotto that Chou Chou has in mind for our garden, all I know is that with a sizable base like we have, it will be pretty monumental…Stay tuned for more pictures as the grotto develops!