Bringing The Grotto to You Day 5: The Meditation Chapel

Marilyn Moyer Meditation Chapel (1991)

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.

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.

The building was designed by Thompson Vaivoda and Associates, and has received both national and international architectural awards, including a 1992 Grand Award for Engineering Excellence from the American Engineers Council.

Inside the chapel

Large, comfortable chairs await your visit. 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.

Just what is meditation?

In times of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty people often focus prayer on their personal wants and feel the burden of finding “just the right words” with which to speak to God. Indeed, prayer is intended to be a “conversation” of sorts between God and ourselves.

But meditation is a bit different and is a special form or method of prayer in which the person praying assumes the posture of listener…where “words” might just not be all that important, or even necessary. The only thought or petition that is focused on is, as the prophet Samuel in the Old Testament, cried out: “Speak Lord, I am Listening”. The prayer of meditation, therefore, is silent, and helps us to “settle down” our minds and hearts to be able to hear God “speak” to us.

This Meditation Chapel provides the perfect environment for this quiet prayer. Sitting in stillness, observing the beauty of God’s creation: Mt. Saint Helens, cloud patterns moving by, tall evergreens swaying in the breeze … and being able to contemplate Christ and His Blessed Mother in the beautiful Michelangelo statue of The Pieta’ … all contribute to our ability to quiet us, and prepare us to listen to God who really wishes to speak to us in the silence of our hearts.

As we reach to pull open the large glass door of the Mediation Chapel we might pray these final words as we prepare ourselves to listen: “Still my heart Lord, from all worry and undo anxiety. I place my trust in you. Open my heart to your peace and compassion. Strengthen me with the power of your Spirit. Speak, Lord, I am listening!”

Bronze copy of Michelangelo’s Pietà

Located inside the Meditation Chapel, this rare copy of Michelangelo’s Pietà is one of twelve bronze casts being made by the Ferdinando Marinelli Foundry in Florence, Italy. The bronze copies were created from a plaster cast taken of the original marble sculpture in 1932 by the Marinelli Foundry with the permission of the Vatican.

Michelangelo completed his masterpiece Pietà out of Carrera marble in 1499 when he was only 24 years old. The sculpture is found in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy. This Pietà is displayed on consignment in the Meditation Chapel through the generosity of its owners.

Prayer to Our Mother of Sorrows ” Lady of the Pietà”

O Holy Mother of Sorrows,with strength from above you stood by the cross of Jesus,sharing in His sufferings,and with tender care you bore Him in your arms,mourning and weeping.We praise you for your faith,which accepted the life God planned for you.

We praise you for your hope,which trusted that God would do great things in you.We praise you for your lovein bearing with Jesus the sorrows of His passion.Holy Mary, may we follow your example,and stand by all your children who need comfort and love.O Most Blessed Mother of God,stand by us in our trials and care for us in our many needs.

We ask you, especially in these days of worry about the coronavirus,to support us with your embrace of motherly love and protection.Pray for us to you Son, Jesus, now and always.

A photographer’s dream

The Meditation Chapel is our most photographed place in the Upper Gardens.

The angles of the building, the reflections in the water outside, and the spectacular view every photo different.

Here are just a few of our favorites.