Lourdes Grotto
Saint Therese Catholic Church,
6016 Camino Rico, Del Cerro
(619) 582-3716

The address is a little misleading. The mission-style church stands on the corner of Navajo and College, but you enter off Camino Rico, behind the church. Park in front and walk past the three giant date palms, past the mature rosebushes, through the Spanish-style arcade that stretches between a side door of the church on the left and the rectory on the right. Follow the red tile path to the grotto at the base of the hill. The arching structure is 15 feet tall, 15 feet wide at the base. It's made of smooth-faced stones; four- by four-foot stones make up the bottom course. In a scooped-out section in the top right of the back wall stands an unpolished statue of the Virgin Mary. A small waterfall trickles from her feet down to a shallow pool. Next to the pool a carved likeness of St. Bernadette Soubirous kneels. The scene is a representation of the events of February 11, 1858, when Mary appeared to Bernadette, a peasant girl, near Lourdes in southwestern France. The story was immortalized in the Academy Award­winning movie The Song of Bernadette. During summertime evenings, the prevailing west breeze carries the fragrance of rose and jasmine, and the setting sun shines through the arcade, illuminating the grotto.

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