A Moment of Clarity: The Grotto

Author: George West


The Grotto at Notre Dame is one of the most breathtaking places in America. This replica of the Grotto of Our Lady in Lourdes, France, has become a very popular devotional location on campus. With more than 225,000 candles lit per year, people of all faiths travel to find peace in this place of quiet reflection. When asked how many visitors the grotto has each year Basilica Sacristan John Zack replied, “We have never kept a count of how many visitors come to the Grotto each year. It’s really impossible. I do know that I’ve been through there at all hours of the day and night, in all kinds of weather and, more than likely, there is someone down there praying.”


On home football weekends, fans come from all across the country to light a candle and say a quick prayer at this holy site. “We use approximately 7200 of the glass candles, but due to the limited space for those, we have started this year putting out smaller candles so more people have a chance to light a candle” says, Zack.

It is difficult, in fact, to find a Notre Dame faithful who does not possess at least one memory of the Grotto’s silent beauty. “For a sports fan, visiting Notre Dame for a football weekend is like a pilgrimage. You go there to be a part of something bigger. To be a part of the tradition. To be a part of history. But there’s something more, something higher involved. Hard to explain, but when you’re here, whether you’re religious or not, I think you can feel it. No football weekend would be complete without a visit to this peaceful shrine that sits in the shadow of the Golden Dome.”

Be sure to complete your weekend on campus by spending a few quiet moments at one one of the beautiful wonders of the University of Notre Dame, The Grotto

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