The Grotto depicts Our Lady appearing to St Bernadette at Lourdes. Devotion to Mary increased in the early part of the 20th century. The SHC grotto was built in 1914 from the boulders and rocks found around the property, and collected by boarders.

In May, just before the school holidays (at that time end of term was May), all the students processed to the grotto, each with a small bouquet of flowers for Mary, and placed them on and around the grotto. As the procession continued, they would sing hymns (accompanied by the organ being played inside) and recite the rosary. The Head Prefect was given the honour of placing a crown of flowers on Mary’s head. This was called the Crowning of Our Lady with Flowers.

The grotto could be floodlit and there was a trickle of water flowing into the fountain. It is now covered with ivy and wild roses.

As devotion to Mary was not as fervent as in the 1960’s, by the 1970’s the custom gradually died out.

The inscription on the plaque on the front of the grotto reads “This statue and grotto were blessed by his Grace, the Most rev. Carr on 11th February 1914”.

The grotto is surrounded by the Remembrance Garden, remembering past staff and students.

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