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Map Upper Gardens

The Grotto

A Place of Solitude, Peace, and Prayer

The Grotto story began just before the start of the twentieth century, when a young boy learned that his mother lay near death after giving birth to a daughter. In tears the boy ran to the little parish church in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, where he prayed for his mother’s life, promising that if she were spared he would one day undertake a great work for the Church. His mother survived and the future Father Ambrose Mayer never forgot his promise.

Father Mayer was sent by his Servite superiors to minister in the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon. Always looking for a site on which to build a suitable tribute to Mary, the mother of Jesus (and thus fulfill his promise), Father Mayer came across some acreage in 1923 which was owned by the Union Pacific Railroad Company and scheduled for sale as residential property. Father Mayer determined that this property was ideal for the realization of his dream. Although the asking price was $48,000, Father Mayer made a bid of all that he had – $3,000 – and his offer was accepted. On May 29, 1924, the Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother was dedicated by Portland Archbishop Alexander Christie.

A grotto was hewn from the base of the 110-foot basalt cliff where an altar was constructed, above which was placed a full-sized replica of Michelangelo’s Pietà. This became the sanctuary for an outdoor church where Sunday Mass has been celebrated during the summer months ever since. In 1933 a bronze statue of Mary, Our Mother, was dedicated to mark the 700th anniversary of the Servite Order. The statue and stone monument were a gift from the Catholic Daughters of the Americas. In 1934 the first Marian Congress ever to take place in the United States was held at the Sanctuary.

Over the years the shrine, popularly called The Grotto, became known throughout North America as a center of devotion to Our Lady and as a place of “solitude, peace, and prayer” (the words of Archbishop Christie at the 1924 dedication ceremony), with tributes to Jesus, Mary, and various saints throughout the 62-acre gardens.

The Chapel of Mary, Mother of the Human Race, was dedicated in 1955 by Portland Archbishop Edward D. Howard. The chapel was designed by L. L. Dougan of Dougan & Heims, Architects.

In 1983 the shrine was designated a National Sanctuary. Through the years, more than ten million visitors of all faiths and walks of life from around the world have marveled at The Grotto’s peaceful environment.

The Grotto continues to provide opportunities for visitor and pilgrim alike to experience the spiritual and natural beauty of this holy sanctuary, where God’s presence in nature abounds and where special tribute is given to Mary, the Sorrowful Mother of Jesus.

Annual Garden Pass

One Year Garden Pass

Annual Garden Pass to The Grotto’s Upper Level Gardens


$50 DUO - Valid for two people per visit.

$75 FAMILY - Valid for up to six people per visit.

Purchase one today–also makes a wonderful gift!

Garden Pass Benefits

Annual admission to The Grotto’s Upper Level Gardens for cardholder and 1 accompanying guest* for Duo Pass card and up to 5 accompanying guests** for Family Pass card. Good for one year from the date of purchase.

One free copy of The Grotto’s self-guided tour book will be given at time of Garden Pass purchase only.

Pass cards are non-transferable and non-refundable.

* Pass cardholder may bring a different guest each visit, but only one guest per day.

** Pass cardholder may bring different guests each visit, but only five guests per day.


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Station 15

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world


XV. Jesus rises victorious over death.

Mt. 28:1-2
After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.  And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.
Mt. 28:5-6
Then the angel said to the women in reply, “Do not be afraid!  I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.  He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay.”

Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.


Station 14

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world


XIV. Jesus’ mother and friends lay his body in the tomb.

Mt. 27:59-60
Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock.  Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.

Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.


Station 13

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world


XIII. Jesus’ mother and friends lower his body from the cross.

Lk. 23:50-53
Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who, though he was a member of the council, had not consented to their plan of action.  He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea and was awaiting the kingdom of God.  He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  After he had taken the body down, he wrapped it linen cloth and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb in which no one had yet been buried.

Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.


Station 12

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world


XII. Jesus dies on the cross.

Mk. 15:33-37
At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a load voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “Look, he is calling Elijah.”  One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a read, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”  Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.

Station 11

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world


XI. Soldiers crucify Jesus.

Lk. 23:33-34
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left.  Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they do.”  They divided his garments by casting lots.

Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.

Station 10

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world


X. Soldiers remove Jesus’ robe.

Mk. 15:22-24
They brought him to the place of Golgotha (which is translated Place of the Skull).  They gave him wine drugged with myrrh. but he did not take it.  Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for them to see what each should take.

Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.

Station 9

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world

IX. Jesus falls a third time.

Jn. 12:25-26
Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.

Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.

Station 8

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world


VIII. Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem.

Lk. 23:27-28
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and your children.”

Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.

Station 7

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world


VII. Jesus falls again under the cross.

Jer. 1:17-19
But do you gird your loins; stand up and tell them all that I command you.
Be not crushed on their account, as though I would leave you crushed before them; For it is I this day who have made you a fortified city, A pillar of iron, a wall of brass, against the whole land; Against Judah’s kings and princes, against its priests and people. They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.


Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.

Station 6

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross
We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world


VI. Veronica cleanses Jesus’ face.

Sir. 6:14-17
A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure.  A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth.  A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds; For he who fears God behaves accordingly, and his friend will be like himself.


Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.


Station 5

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world


V. Simon helps Jesus carry the cross.

Lk. 23: 26
As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus.
Mk. 15:21
They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufas, to carry his cross.


Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.

Station 4

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world


IV. Jesus meets Mary, his mother.

Is. 66:10
Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her; Exult, exult with her, all you who were mourning over her!
Is. 12-14
For thus says the Lord:  Lo, I will spread prosperity over her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent.  As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; As a mother comforts her son, so I will comfort you; in Jerusalem you will find your comfort.  When you see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bodies flourish like the grass; The Lords power shall be known to his servants, but to his enemies his wrath.

Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.

 

Station 3

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross


We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world


III. Jesus falls the first time.

Is. 53:4-7
Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way;
But the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all.
Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth.

Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.

Station 2

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world


II. Jesus accepts the cross.

Mt. 27:27-31
Then the solders of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and gathered the whole cohort around him.  They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about him.  Weaving a crown of out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand.  And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying “Hail King of the Jews!”.  They spat upon him and took the reed and kept striking him on the head.  And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him off to crucify him.

Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.


Station 1

The Grotto

The Way of The Cross

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world


I. Jesus receives the sentence of death.


Lk. 23:1-2
Then the whole assembly of them arose and brought him before Pilate. They brought charges against him, saying, “We found this man misleading our people; he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar and maintains that he is the Messiah, a king.”
Lk. 23:24
With loud shouts, however, they persisted in calling for his crucifixion, and their voices prevailed. The verdict of Pilate was that their demand should be granted.

Our Father, Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the
Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be,
world without end.  Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Jesus Christ crucified, have mercy on us.

Shrines at The Grotto

Lithuanian Wayside Shrine
This Lithuanian Shrine was dedicated in 1963 to those who struggled for the freedom of that country fighting for liberty during World War II. Typical of the ancient practice of wayside shrines in Lithuania it is set in a grove of trees.

Lithuanian Wayside Shrine

Our Lady of Czestochowa Polish Shrine
This shrine was made possible in large part through the support of the local Polish community of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2007.

The outdoor shine at The Grotto contains a replica of the icon popularly known as the Black Madonna. The icon, depicting Mary and her child Jesus, darkened from the soot of candles and incense over the centuries, bears scars of vandalism from the fifteenth century.

A pilgrimage destination for hundreds of years, the shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Czestochowa in Poland continues to draw countless pilgrims today. The icon’s origins and early history are steeped in legend, attributing the authorship to St. Luke the Evangelist. Critical studies have dated the image back to the fourteenth century. Battles won, territories protected, and countless healings have all been credited to prayer before the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa.

Polish Shrine

Dambana, Filipino Faith Shrine
The Dambana (Tagalog translation for altar) is like a pergola, only shaped like a traditional Filipino woman’s head gear called salakot. The columns, which also serve as walls, are made of capiz, a kind of flat seashell commonly used on windows in Filipino homes. The Dambana was designed by Hermes Mallari.

In the center of this circular shrine there are three stands covered with bamboo. Three sculptures are enshrined on these stands: San Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint; the Blessed Virgin Mary; and the Santo Nino of Cebu - intercessors with whom Filipinos share a marked affinity. The beautiful sculptures were created by artist Ferdie Sacdalan. The Filipino Community of Oregon and SW Washington, in partnership with The Grotto, collaborated to build this shrine, dedicated in 2008.

The Dambana

Plaza Level

The Visitor Complex Arcade
Mass in the Plaza
Welcome Center

The Plaza Level of The Grotto covers nealy 20 acres.  This serene setting includes the Chapel of Mary, Stations of the Cross, numerous statues and The Grotto.  Also on the Plaza level is the Welcome Center and Visitor Complex.

Chapel of Mary

Chapel of Mary

Chapel of Mary

The Chapel of Mary was built and dedicated in 1955 by Archbishop Edward Howard, DD, and was designed by Luther Dugan. The rock used to build it came from the Rocky Butte Quarry. On the north side is a 110 foot bell tower, crowned with a gold dome and cross. The bas-relief over the bronze doors and marble entrance to the Chapel portray the Baptism of Christ.

Inside, the Chapel seats 500 people. Warm marble walls, Arizona sandstone floors, woodwork of Korina, Swedish marble, mosaics, graceful statues and murals embrace all who enter. The acoustics in the Chapel make it a magnificent place to perform.

The paintings on the walls and ceilings are the work of Jose De Soto. He has painted churches in Europe and the US. The centerpiece of the treasured murals on the Chapel walls is entitled “The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mother in Heaven.” The side walls are the Via Matris. They depict different moments in the life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

All the statues in the Chapel are made from Carrara marble from Italy. We have statues in churches as a reminder of the significant people in our lives. The statues and mosaics in the Chapel of Mary depict St. Juliana Falconieri, OSM, the Seven Holy Founders, statues of the Sacred Heart, St. Pius X, St. Joseph, St. Peregrine, OSM, a mosaic of St. Anne, St. Philip Benizi, OSM, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Stations of The Cross that almost circle the Chapel are also made of marble. They depict the painful scenes of Good Friday, the on which Jesus was crucified.

The stained glass window on the front exterior of the Chapel depicts the Resurrection of Christ. It is 25 feet tall and was made in 1954 by artists commissioned by the Karl Hackart Company of Chicago.

The Upper Level Gardens

Upper Level Pathway

The Upper Level Gardens at The Grotto are 110 feet above The Grotto’s Plaza.  At the top of the north face of Rocky Butte, The Grotto has 62-acres of manicured gardens and walking paths.  There are numerous chapels, statues, walking paths and reflective spaces on the upper level.  The Upper Level Gardens are possibly the best kept secret in Portland as well as one of its largest green spaces.

As there are no walking paths to the upper gardens, to visit the upper level each visitor must purchase an elevator token. Tokens can be purchased at the Welcome Center or the Visitor Complex. Token prices are $5.00 for ages 13-54, ages 6-12 $3.00, and seniors 55 and over $4.00. Children under 6 are free.

The Grotto is fully accessible, and there are a limited number of wheelchairs available for use on a first-come, first-serve basis. The parking lot is located off Sandy Boulevard and NE 85th Avenue; there is ample parking with special stalls for tour buses.

 

The Grotto’s Grounds and Gardens


The Grotto

The Grotto is surrounded by natural beauty. With over 62-acres of manicured gardens and paths visitors are invited to enjoy the plaza and upper levels during any season year round. The plaza level of The Grotto, with its walking paths, showcases native northwest plants, beautiful statues, and Chapel of Mary. The Upper Level Gardens located 110 feet above The Grotto’s lower level sits at the top of the north face of Rocky Butte. Visitors will find an inspiring landscape with manicured gardens and walking paths. There are numerous chapels, statues, walking paths and reflective spaces on the upper level. The upper level Gardens are possibly the best kept secret in Portland as well as one of its largest green spaces.

Via Matris

Via Matris
Wood Carvings of the Via Matris

This area is dedicated to Mary and showcases 34 wood carvings that depict particular events in the life Jesus, Mary and Joseph.  The wood carvings are the work of Professor Heider of Pietralba, Italy.  They were carved from white pine and were at sometime painted.  However, with generous donations they have since been restored to their natural wood state and placed in new housings.

Sorrow 1-Mary accepts in faith the prophecy of Simeon-
Her heart filled with joy, Mary presents her Son Jesus in the temple.  Simeon accepts Him in his arms and utters the prophecy:“This Child is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed- and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword- so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare.”


Sorrow 2- Mary flees into Egypt with Jesus and Joseph-
Forced to endure the hardships of a long journey, and becoming a foreigner in a strange land, Mary and her family flee to protect the child Jesus from those who would destroy him.


Sorrow 3- Mary seeks Jesus lost in Jerusalem-
Jesus disappeared for three days in Jerusalem at the age of twelve, causing his parents, especially Mary, agonizing sorrow.


Sorrow 4- Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary-
As Jesus makes his way to Calvary, condemmed to crucifixion, He meets His mother, Mary.  He is bruised, derided, cursed and defiled and her sorrow is absolute as Jesus drags His own cross up the hill of His crucifixion.


Sorrow 5- Mary stands near the cross of her Son-
Mary stands near her dying Son unable to minister to him as he cries “I thirst”.  She hears him promise heaven to a thief and forgive his enemies.  His last words, “Behold your mother,” charge us to look on Mary as our mother.


Sorrow 6- Mary received the body of Jesus taken down from the cross-
The passion and death are over but for his mother, grief continues.  She holds His body in her arms.


Sorrow 7- Mary places the body of Jesus in the tomb, awaiting the resurrection-
The most tragic day in history ends, Mary alone in sorrow, as she lays the body of her Son, in the tomb.

Tour The Grotto

The Upper Level

Make the most of your group’s visit to The Grotto and schedule a tour. We offer a peaceful break for groups of many varieties and sizes ranging from sacred pilgrimages to casual tours.

Daytime tours of the grounds are offered year-round. Schedule your visit at least two weeks in advance, and a volunteer tour guide (if available) will be arranged to greet you, give your group a history of The Grotto and/or a personalized tour of the lower level and upper gardens. Minimum group size for tour guides is 10 visitors.

The Grotto offers a spectacular natural gallery in the woods, with more than 100 beautifully sculpted statues and shrines nestled among towering firs and flower-lined pathways. The dramatic cliffside, award-winning architecture, and spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains offer inspiration for all who visit this Sanctuary.

There is no admission charge to see the gardens and structures on the lower level of The Grotto. The lower level includes The Grotto (cave and plaza), Stations of the Cross, The Chapel of Mary, as well as our Welcome Center/Gift Shop and Visitor Complex.

As there are no walking paths to the upper gardens, to visit the upper level each visitor must purchase an elevator token. Tokens can be purchased at the Welcome Center or the Visitor Complex. Token prices are $5.00 for ages 13-54, ages 6-12 $3.00, and seniors 55 and over $4.00. Children under 6 are free.

The Grotto is fully accessible, and there are a limited number of wheelchairs available for use on a first-come, first-serve basis. The parking lot is located off Sandy Boulevard and NE 85th Avenue; there is ample parking with special stalls for tour buses.

The Grotto Tour Coordinator
503-254-7371

The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden

This lovely garden has produced many award-winning roses. It is maintained by volunteers. In 2003, the gardens were expanded through generous Mother’s Day donations from supporters who had rose bushes planted in honor of their own mothers. Visitors and friars alike enjoy the sweet fragrance of its beautiful roses.

The Peace Garden

The Peace Garden
The Peace Garden in winter

The Peace Garden has been a part of The Grotto’s upper level since 1989 because of a generous gift from Henry J. Casey in memory of his sister Marguerite. The Peace Garden covers one and half acres. Incorporated into the landscaping are the Mysteries of the Rosary.  They are depicted in individual bronze plaques grouped into the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous mysteries.  The Peace Garden also features a large pond and flowing stream.

When entering the Peace Garden and walking through its winding paths during any season you become aware of darkness and light.  The concept was incorporated with the purpose to remind us that we are walking into the mystery of our redemption.

The Monastery

The Monastery is home to the Servite Friars, and it was built in 1936.  The Monastery can accommodate up to twelve priests and brothers. The rock exterior is sandstone from Washington State.  The Monastery was condemned in 1985 and the interior structure was gutted and renovated.


The Monastery

The Grotto

The Grotto Cave

The Grotto is approximately 30 feet wide, 30 feet deep and almost 50 feet high.  It was carved out of the face of the cliff in 1923.  Fr. Ambrose Mayer, founder of The Grotto, placed a replica of Michelangelo’s Pietà in the cave in 1946.  The statue of the Virgin Mother holding Jesus in her arms is made of Carrara mable.

Statues

Christus Garden
Calvary

Throughout the plaza and upper levels, The Grotto is home to hundreds of beautifully carved statues.  Whether it is the Sacred Heart Statue, Christus Statue, or the Statue of Mary on the upper level each one is special.  The statues at The Grotto are made from marble, granite, bronze, polyester resin and fiberglass.

Stations of The Cross

Stations of The Cross
Stations of The Cross

A circular path near the parking area leads visitors to the 14 Stations of The Cross. They were purchased by Father Ambrose Mayer, OSM. They were purchased in 1930, and they are cast in bronze. Set in shrines of tufa stone, surrounded by trees, flowers and fems, they were erected along two rising paths at the base of the cliff. The volcanic rock used in construction of the Stations was from Battle Ground, Washington.

The Grotto Meditation Chapel

The Meditation Chapel
The Grotto

The Grotto Meditation Chapel, built in 1991, rises from the north face of Rocky Butte; it provides a panoramic vista of the Columbia River and Mt. St. Helens. On a clear day even Mt. Rainier may be visible.  The Meditation Chapel is 1,500 square feet in size, built of polished granite and glass walls. 

The cliff-side glass exterior of the Meditation Chapel with its lighted cross offers a dramatic view which can be seen by southbound travelers on Interstate 205. The building has received both national and international architectural awards.

Mysteries of the Rosary

Glorious Mysteries
Luminous Mysteries
The Luminous Mysteries with artist Mary Lewis

Incorporated into the landscaping of the Peace Garden are the Mysteries of the Rosary.  They are depicted in individual bronze plaques grouped into the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous mysteries.  The Peace Garden also features a large pond and flowing stream.

Sculptor Mary Lewis is the artist responsible for creating a quintet of bronze reliefs depicting the five Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary established by Pope John Paul II. Lewis completed these special pieces of artwork in 2005, adding to the existing bronze reliefs of the other Mysteries of the Rosary that she created for The Grotto in 1989.

Mary Lewis has been one of Oregon’s premier artists of over 50 years. Her studio is in Rainier, Oregon. Much of her work contains religious themes; her sculptures can be found around the country.

St. Anne’s Chapel

St. Anne's Chapel

This little chapel-like building honors St. Anne, the mother of Mary.  Built in 1934 to house the Blessed Sacrament during the first United States Marian Congress, it continued to serve as a chapel before the Chapel of Mary was built.  It now houses numerous Madonna paintings from many countries.

The Grotto

What’s in Bloom?

Rhrodendrons
Calvary
The Assumption
The Peace Garden

The Grotto’s Botanical Calendar

January

  • Camellia
  • Fir
  • Deer and Licorice Fern

February

  • Hellebore and daffodil
  • Camellia, Pieris, Japonica and Mahonia
  • Fir
  • Deer and Licorice Fern
  • Cotoneaster

March

  • Hellebore, Bergenia, Vinca Minor, Euphorbia and Daffodil
  • Camellia, Pieris, Japonica, Mahonia, Viburnum, Forsythia, Dafphne and Rhododendron
  • Purple leaf flowering plum
  • Cotoneaster

April

  • Trillium, Vinca Minor, Soloman’s Seal, Lunaria (Money Plant), Scillia
  • Rhododendron, Otto Luken, Lauer, Lacecap Hydrangea
  • Japanese Magnolia, Dogwood, Weeping Japanese Maple
  • Sword Fern

May

  • Vinca Minor, Astilbe, Begonia, Bleeding Heart, Solomon’s Seal, Madonna Lily
  • Rhododendron, Azalea, Viburnum Davidii

June

  • Vinca Minor, Iris, Impatiens, Marguerite, Rose Campion, Foxglove, Dicentra, and Lilies
  • Rhododendron, Spirea, Lilac and Roses

July:

  • Impatiens, Marguerite, Day Lily and Shasta Daisies
  • Roses and Spirea

August:

  • Impatiens, Marguerite and Day Lilies

September

  • Roses and Annual Flowers

October:

  • Pyracantha
  • Mountain Ash & Maples
  • English Ivy

November:

  • Photinea, Skimmia, Pyracantha

December:

  • Giant Califorrnia Redwood Cedar, Fir
  • Kinnickinik

Working to Remove Invasive Plant Species

The Grotto

Invasive Plants at the Grotto
The Grotto has partnered with the City of Portland and the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) Watershed Revegetation Program to remove invasive plant species from The Grotto.  This partnership began in 2008 and will continue for approximately ten years. The invasive plant species targeted for removal in this project is ivy, clematis, holly, laurel, and Himalayan blackberry.

The BES crews along with volunteers from The Grotto have begun the removal process by focusing on the less used areas of The Grotto. Once removed, the plant material will be allowed to decompose naturally, thus serving as mulch.  After those areas are finished, they will focus on the more public areas of The Grotto such as the plaza.

After all of the invasive plants are removed, The Grotto will begin the revegetation process by planting a diverse selection of native plants.  Replanting will help improve the overall health of the Rocky Butte watershed which The Grotto belongs to.

The Bureau of Environmental Services has over 120 partners around the City and is working on over 300 parcels of land to remove invasive plant species. The Grotto is looking for volunteers to help remove invasive plants or for those interested in donating to the revegetation process.  If you are interested please contact The Grotto at 503-254-7371.

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