Lourdes Park Grotto gets a facelift

July 24, 2019 by

The Lourdes Grotto on the Motherhouse grounds is in the process of receiving a new partial facelift. Time and weather has damaged some of the brick and mortar covering the base of the structure.

Justin LeDuc works on the rear of the grotto.

Sister Jodi Creten watches Josh Duvall and Brad Snyder work.

   Motherhouse maintenance employees have been at work this week clearing damaged spots, and are now recovering the lower, damaged parts of the structure with a mortar concrete that they’ve dyed to match the original structure.

“The dying (of the mortar) is a little trial and error, as it changes color as it dries,” said Brad Snyder. “But I think we have it right this time.”

Justin LeDuc is using a sprayer to apply the dyed mortar to the damaged area of the structures. The sprayer allows the texture to mimic the grotto’s existing surface. The mortar mix is finer than regular concrete and able to go through the sprayer without plugging it up. The unique looking device is what is used when constructing swimming pools.

When complete, the repairs should be completely unnoticeable.

Once the repairs are complete, new environmentally friendly, low maintenance plantings will be installed around the base of the structure, which will complement the new plantings that were done in the Lourdes Park gardens previously by Trish Remley, of Grassland Gardens, Nursery & Flower Farm in Miltonvale, Kan.

The grotto and gardens are a perennial favorite location for high school prom pictures, said Jane Wahlmeier, administrative services coordinator for the Motherhouse. “And we really appreciate it when people don’t attempt to climb on it.”

Justin LeDuc uses a sprayer to apply the mortar mix.

The Lourdes Grotto is located in Lourdes Park, which lies to the southeast of the Motherhouse. It is a replica of the site of the apparition of the Blessed Mother to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France.

It is built of “tuff stone,” a petrified vegetable material found along the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio. The base of the grotto is a brick and mortar construction with a covering of mortar designed to mimic the tuff stone. That is the area being repaired.

The grotto is 40 feet wide and 55 feet deep. The entrance to the grotto imitates the Ruins of Abbey Moyne, Ireland.

E.J. Koenig of Chicago laid out the park and built the grotto in 1916.

Comments

One Response to “Lourdes Park Grotto gets a facelift”

  1. Betsy Gasperich-Miller on July 25th, 2019 9:39 am

    Loved the grotto when I was in the Apostolic School and the community! Always a great place to meditate!
    Glad it is being repaired and kept! Enjoyed the history of it! Thank!
    One of my favorite places on the grounds of the Motherhouse!
    Such fond memories of my time in the community!
    Forever in my heart!

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