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A Stroll in the Sanctuary with Father Vidal

Join Fr. Vidal Martinez, OSM, Rector of The Grotto, for a daily walk in the garden. Enjoy photos and videos taken by Fr. Vidal, often during hours when the grounds are closed.

If you would like to receive these moments with Fr. Vidal via email each morning, click here to subscribe.

Saturday, Jan. 23

Today, go inside Dambana, the Filipino Shrine, located in the Upper Gardens.

Dambana is Filipino word for “altar.” This shrine is a sanctuary that brings together the faith and culture of the Filipino people. Its roof is shaped like a salakot, a traditional Filipino wide-brimmed hat. Its walls are made of capiz, a flat seashell commonly used on windows in Filipino homes.

In the center of this shrine are three stands covered with natural bamboo. Three sculptures are enshrined on these stands.

Our Lady of Dambana , surrounded by three angels representing the three major islands of the Philippines – Luzon, Visayas Mindanao.
Santo Niño de Cebú , the oldest relic in the Philippines. Written on the bamboo stand is the Cebuano “Hail Mary” in Baybayin, the ancient Filipino alphabet.
San Lorenzo Ruiz , the first Filipino saint.

Friday, Jan. 22

Today, visit the Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue, which is located near the Monastery of Our Sorrowful Mother in the Upper Gardens.

Thursday, Jan. 21

Today, Father Vidal takes us inside the Meditation Chapel in the Upper Gardens where we may view the beautiful Mt. St. Helens, which is 52 miles to the north.

Wednesday, Jan. 20

Today, Father Vidal zooms in on St. Anne’s Chapel, with the Monastery of Our Sorrowful Mother in the background.

Tuesday, Jan. 19

Today, Father Vidal takes us to the Peace Garden on a wintery day in the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, Jan. 18

Today, visit Servite St. Philip Benizi’s Retreat, which is located on the lower level at The Grotto. The lower level is free to all throughout the year.

Sunday, Jan. 17

Visit Servite St. Philip Benizi’s Retreat, which is located on the lower level at The Grotto. The lower level is free to all throughout the year.

Saturday, Jan. 16

Today, Father Vidal takes us inside the Meditation Chapel at sunrise. Watch a plane take off from Portland International Airport, and view the beautiful Mt. St. Helens, 52 miles to the north.

Friday, Jan. 15

Today, watch a sweet little bird enjoying the Upper Gardens.

The Grotto is a 62-acre sanctuary in the middle of a busy city, and is home to many creatures, great and small.

Thursday, Jan. 14

Today, Father Vidal takes us to a spot in the Upper Gardens where we can view the Monastery, the Statue of the Assumption of Mary, the Peace Pole, the statue of St. Francis of Assisi, the Lithuanian Shrine and the kneeling angels as you we look around on a winter day.

Wednesday, Jan. 13

Today, visit the Meditation Chapel at night. Enjoy the view and the beautiful bronze replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta. The Marilyn Moyer Meditation Chapel is located in the Upper Gardens.

Tuesday, Jan. 12

Today, the Monastery of Our Sorrowful Mother is seen in the distance, through a grove of trees in the Upper Gardens.

Monday, Jan. 11

Today, take a walk in the Peace Garden, where the Via Matris can be seen in the distance.

Sunday, Jan. 10

Today, take a walk down a rainy path to the statue of Mary, located high atop the cliff, 150 feet above the Grotto.

This bronze statue entitled “Mary, Our Mother” was a gift from the Catholic Daughters in 1933.

Saturday, Jan. 9

Today, visit the St. Peregrine Shrine on the lower level. Servite St. Peregrine Laziosi is the patron saint of those with cancer and life-threatening diseases. To learn more about St. Peregrine, please click here.

Friday, Jan. 8

Today, Father Vidal takes us to St. Anne’s Chapel, the oldest structure at The Grotto. Built in 1934 for the First International Marian Congress in the United States, the Chapel now is the home to images of Mary from around the world.

Thursday, Jan. 7

Today, Father Vidal takes us on a walk through the woods surrounding the Upper Gardens.

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Today, we take a look inside the Chapel of Mary, where pews are being removed and preparations are made for repairs and restoration, including new pews and flooring.

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Today, the Monastery of Our Sorrowful Mother, the residence of the Servite Friars, peaks through the trees in the Upper Gardens.

Monday, Jan. 4

Today, view some of the woodcarvings of the Via Matris, glowing in the fading light.

Sunday, Jan. 3

Today, enjoy the tranquil sounds of the Peace Garden in the sprinkling Portland rain.

Saturday, Jan. 2

Today, make a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe during the season of Christmas.

Friday, Jan. 1

Today, the sun shines through the trees surrounding the Upper Gardens.

Thursday, Dec. 31

Today, enjoy the view from the Monastery on a foggy morning.

Wednesday, Dec. 30

Today, visit St. Anne’s Chapel, the oldest structure at The Grotto, at dusk.

Tuesday, Dec. 29

Today, view beautiful St. Joseph’s Grove on a misty winter morning.

Monday, Dec. 28

Today, Father Vidal takes us inside the Chapel of Mary at Christmas.

Sunday, Dec. 27

Today, take a foggy morning walk. View the Statue of the Assumption of Mary, the Peace Pole and the beautiful Upper Gardens.

Saturday, Dec. 26

Today, Fr. Vidal greets visitors on a sanctuary lantern tour. More lantern tours will be offered later in the year.

Christmas Day

Today, sunlight shines through St. Joseph’s Grove.

Christmas Eve

Today, take a walk down the cultural shrine path in the dark.

Wednesday, Dec. 23

Today, take a walk to the Meditation Chapel at dusk.

Tuesday, Dec. 22

Today, enjoy the Servite Monastery, Rose Garden and the owls at dusk.

Monday, Dec. 21

Today, lights shine outside the Visitor Center, where we welcome everyone to come and visit us this Christmas.

Sunday, Dec. 20

Today, enjoy a song of praise to God at the entrance to the Chapel of Mary.

Saturday, Dec. 19

Today, take a walk past some of the cultural shrines at Christmas.

Friday, Dec. 18

Today, take a visit to St. Anne’s Chapel. Built in 1934, it is the oldest structure at The Grotto.

Thursday, Dec. 17

Today, take a walk in a little bit of rain … and a few puddles on the way.

Wednesday, Dec. 16

Today, view the Monastery of Our Sorrowful Mother and the Statue of the Assumption of Mary as the sun peaks through the trees.

It is still a beautiful time to visit the Upper Gardens.

Tuesday, Dec. 15

Today, enjoy the last few days of autumn at The Grotto.

Monday, Dec. 14

Today, view Saturday’s early morning celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Sunday, Dec. 13

Today, enjoy the view from the overlook, high above The Grotto, including the Statue of Mary, Our Mother.

Friday, Dec. 11

Today, view the beautiful Chapel of Mary, prepared for Advent.

Thursday, Dec. 10

Today, listen to the music of the wind … and the occasional owl.

Wednesday, Dec. 9

Today, enjoy this squirrel having lunch in our beautiful sanctuary. The Grotto is 62 acres of forest and gardens in the middle of a busy city.

Tuesday, Dec. 8

Today, view a few of the cultural shrines in the Upper Gardens, decorated for the season.

Monday, Dec. 7

Today, enjoy the tranquil sounds of raindrops falling on the Peace Garden ponds.

Sunday, Dec. 6

Today, view the beautiful Via Matris as the fog begins to lift.

Saturday, Dec. 5

Today, the Sisters who minister at The Grotto have decorated the shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe for Christmas.

Friday, Dec. 4

Today, talk a walk on a rainy autumn day.

Thursday, Dec. 3

Today, a fern in the Upper Gardens dances in the wind.

Wednesday, Dec. 2

Today, take a walk at sunset.

Tuesday, Dec. 1

Today, a sweet little bird praises the Lord in song in the Upper Gardens.

Monday, Nov. 30

Today, take a walk through the Upper Gardens, where the sun is shining through the morning fog.

Sunday, Nov. 29

Today, take a foggy morning walk through the Upper Gardens.

Saturday, Nov. 28

Today, listen to the joyful sounds of nature, recorded on Thanksgiving Day in the Upper Gardens.

Friday, Nov. 27

Today, take a walk along the Via Matris (Way of the Mother) in the Upper Gardens.
The Via Matris was installed in 1930.To learn more about the Via Matris, please click here.

Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26

Today, take a look around the closed Upper Gardens at Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, Nov. 25

Today, take a walk near the entrance to the Peace Garden, where the vibrant colors of fall surround you.

Tuesday, Nov. 24

Today, take a walk past a few of the shrines located on the multicultural path in the Upper Gardens.

Monday, Nov. 23

Today, take a quiet walk by the woods which surround The Grotto.

Sunday, Nov. 22

Today, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue near the Monastery is framed by the wonderful colors of fall.

Saturday, Nov. 21

Today, the beautiful colors of the season light up a forested path.

Friday, Nov. 20

Today, take a look around the Peace Garden after an autumn rain.

Thursday, Nov. 19

Today, enjoy the tranquil sounds of the fountain in the middle of the Rose Garden, where the Statue of the Assumption of Mary stands.

Wednesday, Nov. 18

Today, after rainy days … the sun shines.

Tuesday, Nov. 17

Today, take a late-evening stroll through the Rose Garden near the Monastery.

Monday, Nov. 16

Today, listen to the tranquil sounds of rainfall in the Upper Gardens.

Sunday, Nov. 15

Today, stroll through the extraordinary colors of autumn found in the sanctuary gardens.

Saturday, Nov. 14

Today, the autumn winds leave behind a carpet of crunchy leaves.

Friday, Nov. 13

Today, the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue welcomes all who come to The Grotto.

This statue is located near the entrance on the lower level. The lower level is free to all throughout the year.

Thursday, Nov. 12

Today, listen to the sounds of a Pacific Northwest forest, as Fr. Vidal stops to listen to the crows in the woods surrounding the Upper Gardens.

Wednesday, Nov. 11

Today, the Peace Pole in the Upper Gardens shares the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in English, Spanish, Russian and Japanese.

Tuesday, Nov. 10

Today, the entrance to The Grotto is a palette of fall colors.

You can find our entrance at NE 85th and Sandy Boulevard in Portland, Oregon.

Monday, Nov. 9

Today, walk the red carpet of autumn leaves which brighten the garden paths.

Sunday, Nov. 8

Today, visit the Calvary Statue, surrounded by the colors of autumn. This statue is the first thing you see as you arrive at The Grotto.

Saturday, Nov. 7

Today, take a walk through St. Joseph’s Grove in the Upper Gardens.

Friday, Nov. 6

Today, experience the beautiful setting of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue, located near the Monastery in the Upper Gardens.

Thursday, Nov. 5

Today, Fr. Vidal takes us on a November walk through the tranquil Peace Garden.

Wednesday, Nov. 4

Today, see the unique view of the Rose Garden from the Monastery of Our Sorrowful Mother, where the Servite Friars reside.

Tuesday, Nov. 3

Today, we welcome November, and all the glorious color it brings.

Monday, Nov. 2

Today, take a walk down a private lane to the grave of Servite Fr. Ambrose Mayer, founder of The Grotto in 1924.

To learn more about Fr. Ambrose and the history of The Grotto, please click here.

Sunday, Nov. 1

Today, visit St. Philip Benizi’s Retreat on the lower level.

Servite St. Philip Benizi

Born in 1233 to a noble family in Florence, Italy, Philip studied in Padua and Paris, earning a doctorate in medicine and philosophy. He joined the Servite Order in 1253; in time he became renowned for his preaching. He was instrumental in the future Saint Peregrine Laziosi joining the Servite order. In 1267 Philip was chosen as general superior (prior general) of the order. He was influential in reforming the religious order, and was eventually considered a possible candidate for the Papal Throne, after Pope Clemete IV died in 1268. This so distressed Philip that he fled and lived in a cave until the papal election was over.

This shrine, built in 1927, is one of the earliest installations at The Grotto, and represents his time spent as a hermit in the mountains of Montagnata, Italy.

With the Papal Tiara at his feet, he is represented praying at the entrance of the cave where he lived while in hiding.

During this time he redoubled his penances, eating only herbs and drinking at a fountain, ever since held to be miraculous by reason of its healing qualities, and called “St. Philip’s Spring.”

St. Philip was one of the shining lights of the early Servite Order, both intellectually and spiritually. His gifts of compassion and generosity, as well as his leadership abilities and his commitment to reconciliation, were readily recognized within his Servite community as well as the Church at large.

The Grotto is a ministry of Order of Friar Servants of Mary. To learn more about the Servites, please click here.

Saturday, Oct. 31

Today, as the season nears its end, we take a peak at the last of the roses in the Rose Garden.

Friday, Oct. 20

Today, the sun shines through the trees and lights up the autumn leaves.

Thursday, Oct. 29

Today, Fr. Vidal encounters a coyote while on a walk. The Grotto is surrounded by a forest full of wildlife.

Wednesday, Oct. 28

Today, visit the Statue of St. Jude Thaddeus.

This statue was installed in 1976. It is located in The Grotto Upper Gardens, and is one of the first statues you will see upon entering the gardens. It is surrounded by tall firs and flowering shrubs, next to the great lawn.

Tuesday, Oct. 27

Today, Fr. Vidal takes us on a special stroll down a private access road at The Grotto.

Monday, Oct. 26

Today, experience the beautiful view from the Meditation Chapel in the Upper Gardens.

The Meditation Chapel rises from the north face of Rocky Butte, facing the panoramic vista of the Columbia River, which separates the beautiful states of Oregon and Washington. Mt. St. Helens looms in the distance. On a clear day, Mt. Rainier is also visible.

The chapel is 1,500 square feet in size, built of polished granite and glass walls. It was built in 1991.

When you are inside the building, you are physically looking out from the top portion of a large cross that is lit up at night. The cross can be seen from quite a distance as you travel South on I-205.

The chapel was built in memory of Marilyn Moyer as a gift to The Grotto from her husband, Tom Moyer, and the Moyer children. Recognizing her life-long devotion to the Blessed Mother, this chapel will remain forever a place where all may come for peaceful meditation.

Whether you choose to pray, to meditate, or to simply take a break and enjoy the view, the Meditation Chapel is a place of peace and quiet.

Sunday, Oct. 25

Today, experience the Upper Gardens at sunset, including the beautiful Via Matris (Way of the Mother) in the distance.

Stay tuned next week for information about lantern tours of the Upper Gardens at dusk during December.

Saturday, Oct. 24

Today, take a walk at sunset down the multicultural shrine path. Visit Our Lady of Czestochowa, Our Lady of Lavang, Dambana and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Stay tuned next week for information on lantern tours offered at dusk in December.

Friday, Oct. 23

Today, experience the spectacular sunset view from the Meditation Chapel, where you can watch the planes take off and land from Portland International Airport.

Thursday, Oct. 22

Today, the beautiful Via Matris glows in the early evening light. To learn more about the Via Matris, please click here.

Wednesday, Oct. 21

Today, the greens of The Grotto are a feast for your eyes.

Tuesday, Oct. 20

Today, walk a portion and view the spectacular surroundings of the labyrinth, located in the Upper Gardens.

Monday, Oct. 19

Today, spend a restful moment in St. Joseph’s Grove.

Sunday, Oct. 18

Today, listen to the glorious sounds of God’s creation, heard in the forest which surrounds The Grotto.

Saturday, Oct. 17

Today, enjoy the light coming through the trees as we take a walk down a private lane that leads to the Monastery of Our Sorrowful Mother.

Friday, Oct. 16

Today, go on a peaceful morning walk in the rain through the Via Matris (Way of the Mother) in the Upper Gardens.

Thursday, Oct. 15

Today, go for an early morning stroll down the multicultural shrine path. Visit Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dambana, Our Lady of Lavang, and Our Lady of Czestochowa.

Somehow The Grotto seems even more peaceful in the rain.

Wednesday, Oct. 14

Today, take an evening walk to beautiful St. Anne’s Chapel in the Upper Gardens.

This small, chapel-like building honors St. Anne, the mother of Mary.
Built in 1934 to house the Blessed Sacrament during the first United State Marian Congress, it is the oldest building at The Grotto.

The building continued to serve as a chapel until The Grotto’s Chapel of Mary was built in 1955. Now, St . Anne’s Chapel houses numerous Madonna paintings from many countries.

Tuesday, Oct. 13

Today, view the beautiful statues honoring Our Lady of Lourdes glow in the evening light. These statues are located on the cliff near the elevator to the Upper Gardens.

Monday, Oct. 12

Today, enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest in the sunshine … and in the rain.

Sunday, Oct. 11

Today, the Via Matris glows in the fading light.

Saturday, Oct. 10

Today, we celebrate all creatures great and small.

Friday, Oct. 9

Today, visit the Lithuanian Wayside Shrine in the morning mist.

Thursday, Oct. 8

Today, visit Our Lady of Czestochowa, the Polish Wayside Shrine located on the multicultural shrine path in the Upper Gardens.

Wednesday, Oct. 7

Today, the evening light shines through the trees surrounding the Glorious Mysteries, located on the Mysteries of the Rosary path in the Upper Gardens.

Tuesday, Oct. 6

Today, enjoy a stroll in the garden at sunset.

Monday, Oct. 5

Today, view Mt. St. Helens, an active volcano 52 miles to the north, as seen from the Meditation Chapel in the Upper Gardens.

Sunday, Oct. 4

Today, we look take a walk down the path of the Mysteries of the Rosary, which is located in the Upper Gardens.

Each decade of the rosary is given a unique quality. Each mystery leads us to ponder very specific events in the lives of Jesus and Mary, and the lessons they hold for our own lives today.

The Joyful Mysteries
1. The Annunciation to Mary
2. The Visitation of Mary
3. The Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ
4. The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple
5. The Finding of Our Lord in the Temple
The Sorrowful Mysteries
1. The Agony of Christ in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord on the Cross
The Glorious Mysteries
1. The Resurrection of Our Lord
2. The Ascension of Our Lord
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles
4. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven
5. The Coronation of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven and Earth
The Luminous Mysteries
1. The Baptism of the Lord
2. The Wedding at Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Eucharist

Saturday, Oct. 3

Today, hear the crunch of leaves as you stroll through the woods of The Grotto on a sunny autumn evening.

Friday, Oct. 2

Today, join Father Vidal for a restful moment in the Peace Garden.

Thursday, Oct. 1

Today, the beautiful shrine to Our Lady of Lavang glows in the morning light. This shrine is one of five shrines located on the multicultural shrine path in the Upper Gardens.

Wednesday, Sept. 30

Today, while autumn is definitely beginning to show its colors, summer blooms can still be spotted here and there.

This hydrangea in the Upper Gardens can be found by the statue of St. Francis of Assisi. (Seen in the background.)

Tuesday, Sept. 29

Today, the early morning light shines through the forest.

Monday, Sept. 28

Today, take a stroll past the shrine to Our Lady of Lavang on our way to Dambana, the Filipino Shrine.

These shrines are two of five multicultural shrines located in The Grotto Upper Gardens.

Sunday, Sept. 27

Today, the beautiful statue of St. Francis of Assisi graces the Upper Gardens, followed by scenes from the woods, including a very acrobatic squirrel enjoying lunch.

The Grotto is not only a sanctuary of peace, but 62 acres of wildlife habitat in the middle of the city.

Saturday, Sept. 26

Today, enjoy the view from the Meditation Chapel at sunset.

Friday, Sept. 25

Today, the beautiful and serene St. Joseph’s Grove in the morning mist.

Thursday, Sept. 24

Today, the autumn leaves are beginning to burst with color.

Wednesday, Sept. 23

Today, enjoy the view looking up at the trees of The Grotto as we truly stroll the sanctuary with Fr. Vidal.

Tuesday, Sept. 22

Today, The Grotto’s gardens remind us that autumn begins today!

Monday, Sept. 21

Today, enjoy the peaceful surroundings of the shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of five shrines located on the multicultural shrine path in the Upper Gardens.

Sunday, Sept. 20

Today, the lights of the Via Matris glow in the distance, in the evening light of the Upper Gardens.

Saturday, Sept. 19

Today, we welcome the much-needed rain, seen from the Monastery of Our Sorrowful Mother at The Grotto.

Friday, Sept. 18

Today, listen to the birds calling in the Upper Gardens, while the smoke from the wildfires still lingers.

Thursday, Sept. 17

Today, a playful squirrel reminds us of all the wonderful creatures sharing this beautiful world with us.

Wednesday, Sept. 16

Today, signs of fall shine through the smoke that still lingers in the air from the wildfires.

Tuesday, Sept. 15

Today, stroll through the Stations of the Cross path, located on the lower level.

Monday, Sept. 14

Today, view The Grotto in the smoke from the wildfires burning around the region. You can barely see the statue of Mary atop the cliff.

Sunday, Sept. 13

Today, take a walk through the forested Stations of the Cross path, located on The Grotto’s lower level.

The lower level is free to all throughout the year. Pets, properly restrained, are allowed in the outdoor areas of the lower level.

Saturday, Sept. 12

Today, the smokey air from the wildfires currently burning continues to surround the region.

Friday, Sept. 11

Today, the shrine to Our Lady of Lavang glows in the morning light.
This shrine honors Mary and her apparition to the faithful Vietnamese Catholics as they hid in the jungle during the final years of the 18th century to avoid persecution for their faith.

It is one of five multicultural shrines located on the shrine path in the Upper Gardens.

Thursday, Sept. 10

Today, view the smokey sky caused by the many wildfires currently burning across Oregon and the West.

This view is from the overlook, atop the cliff, directly above Our Lady’s Grotto and the plaza.

Wednesday, Sept. 9

Today, the silhouette of Mt. St. Helens at sunrise. This active volcano is located 52 miles to the north of The Grotto.

Tuesday, Sept. 8

Today, Fr. Vidal shares scenes from the smokey windstorm that took place on the evening of September 7.

Monday, Sept. 7

Today, take a walk through St. Joseph’s Grove in the Upper Gardens.

Sunday, Sept. 6

Today, the view looking up … and the view looking down.

Saturday, Sept. 5

Today, hawks soar above the cliff as the sun sets.

Friday, Sept. 4

Today, the view from the Meditation Chapel at sunset features a plane landing, with Mt. St. Helens in the background.

Thursday, Sept. 3

Today, St. Anne’s Chapel, glows in the evening light.

Built in 1934 to house the Blessed Sacrament during the first United States Marian Congress, it is the oldest building at The Grotto.

Now, St . Anne’s Chapel houses numerous Madonna paintings from many countries.

Wednesday, Sept. 2

Today, encounter the glorious sunset from the Christus Garden.

Tuesday, Sept. 1

The first signs that autumn is on its way.

Monday, August 31

Sunday, August 30

The sun rises behind St. Francis, St. Joseph, and the evergreen forest which surrounds The Grotto.