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Legacy Newsletter

A Legacy Gift Story

Thousands of pilgrims and visitors year-round benefit from the natural beauty and peace of The Grotto Meditation Chapel in the Upper Gardens. The quiet contemplation begins upon the serene approach to the entrance, where reflection pools on either side of the elegant walkway provide a calm and beautiful start to the meditation experience.

The late Dr. Billie Sahley knew the power of meditation, connection, and healing. She worked as a behavioral therapist with expertise in post trauma. Most inspiring to those close to her was her passion for helping people, her creativity, and the way she touched lives. Dr. Sahley was admired for her generosity, and she loved giving.

When Dr. Sahley passed away in 2011, The Grotto was honored that she remembered this beautiful sanctuary in her will. She asked that the money be used for meditation chapel care and improvements. At that time, the reflection pools had become plagued with continual pump problems, clogs, and green water. They had to be drained and sat empty with just exposed concrete, rocks, and weeds, significantly detracting from the cliffside meditation chapel experience. 

With Billie’s legacy gift, The Grotto was able to excavate and rebuild the ponds with new pumps and filtration systems, resolve debris trap problems, add new plumbing and sensor systems, repair shell leaks, and complete decorative finish work—returning the reflection pools to a beautiful contemplative water feature.

Even after her passing, Dr. Bille Sahley continues to serve those in need through her special legacy gift to The Grotto Meditation Chapel experience of peace and reflection. 

A message from the Rector of The Grotto

Dear Friends,

The beauty of the Lord is on display throughout the environs of The Grotto. The magnificent colors of the flowers and shrubs and the joyful flurry of birds and squirrels trumpet that summer is in full swing. With summer comes the welcome rest of vacation and the relaxation of slower days. Summer days are the blessing of our good God whose creative genius made all of creation for our delight. 

The arrival of summer brings an increase of pilgrims and visitors to the shrine. Some make their way here to encounter the majesty of God in the prayerful atmosphere on the Chapel of Mary. Others come to enjoy a peaceful respite from the busyness of life. Still others find their way to The Grotto because it is on the list of things to see while visiting Portland. 

Whatever the reason, all who come to The Grotto encounter the goodness of God in this holy place. For this I, and my Servite brothers, feel fortunate to share the blessing of this sacred place with all who arrive at the entrance and walk through the gardens. The Grotto is part of the 150-year legacy of our religious community in the United States. You are part of this legacy as well.

Your generous kindness continues to offer us the opportunity to provide this quiet and sacred place where all are able to find hope and peace. Whether your gift is once a year, once a month or a remembrance in your trust or will, your generosity blesses us with the means necessary to tend to the demands of maintaining the beauty of The Grotto. You are part of the beauty that is The Grotto. Thank you for your support.

We Servites are deeply grateful for your kindness and generosity. Be assured that you and your family are fondly remembered in the daily prayers of our Servite community here at The Grotto. We pray that the Lord continues to richly bless you and that Our Lady watch over you on life’s journey.

Sincerely yours in Christ and His Mother,

Fr. Donald M. Siple, OSM | Rector

What is Planned Giving?

Planned giving is the process of making a charitable gift during one’s life or at death that is part of a financial or estate plan. 

Planned gifts help support worthy causes, but can also be useful in helping individuals address their own financial needs. Donors often seek to match their planned gifts with their deeply held lifelong beliefs; which is why it is also often referred to as Legacy Giving. 

Legacy giving is usually best accomplished as part of your overall financial situation as it takes into account various assets and how they are structured. Planned gifts make use of legal and tax strategies and/or financial products usually assisted by tax and legal professionals. Conversely, a charitable donation made from a person’s cash flow is not defined as a planned gift.

Planned gifts take a number of forms. There are outright gifts of assets such as appreciated securities or artwork. There are simple gifts like naming The Grotto as a beneficiary of your life insurance policy. Other types of planned gifts provide a financial benefit on top of tax deductions for donors. Charitable remainder trusts provide an income stream for you, and at the death, the charity receives what is left in the trust. A charitable lead trust, on the other hand, produces a stream of funds for a charity, and at the death of the donor, the donor’s heirs receive what remains in the trust. 

Your legacy planning will have a lasting, powerful impact and ensure that your values endure, while also ensuring the future of The National  Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother for generations! Please contact us to learn more. 

Leaving a Legacy

The Grotto honors our legacy circle members who share a belief in the power of Planned Giving. The Grotto Legacy Circle is strictly honorary in nature and involves no dues, obligations or solicitations. 

How to become a Legacy Circle member: 

Notify The Grotto that a bequest has been included in a Will or other estate planning tool of an individual whereby the sanctuary will receive a gift. 

Contact us!

We are grateful to members of The Grotto Legacy Circle for carrying on a vital tradition of support. Please contact us with questions or feedback, or to simply learn more. No obligation; we would simply enjoy conversation with you over a garden stroll, lunch, coffee, or tea—our treat! 

Chris Blanchard
Executive Director
The Grotto
Lori Warner-McGee
Development Director
The Grotto

A place of peace, prayer, and natural beauty for all people

The Grotto, The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, is a Roman Catholic ministry of the Order of Friar Servants of Mary. The 62-acre shrine is located in the city of Portland, Oregon. 

The Grotto’s mission is to offer a sanctuary of peace, prayer and natural beauty for all people. The Grotto is a 501 (c) (3) State of Oregon nonprofit organization. Our Federal Tax ID is 93-0386924. 

On May 29, 1924, three thousand people gathered for the first Mass and dedication of the Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother. At the blessing, Archbishop Alexander Christie offered this prayer:

“Let this be a sanctuary of peace for all peoples of the earth and surely in this day a sanctuary is needed. Torn with differences, strife, and grief, the world needs sanctuary where the human spirit can seek peace and consolation.”

This communication offers only general gift planning information.