The Academy

The Academy is now known as Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, the oldest liberal arts college for women in the United States.

The Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto was the first shrine erected on North Campus. It commemorates the appearance of Mary, Mother of God, to the young girl Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, France. The grotto with a small statute was erected in the 1860s. In 1879, Rose Howe, niece of Mother Mary Cecilia Bailly and first graduate of the Academy, brought a new statue from Europe. The grotto was dedicated July 24 of that year when the new statue was placed in the niche and the grotto was built up and landscaped. A second renovation took place in 1946, financed by the parents of Sister Rose Imelda Pfeffer as a memorial to her.

(This entry by Sister Eileen Ann Kelley, former Sisters of Providence archivist)

Rental information

The shrine is available for weddings and other private events. Learn more about renting the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto.