I needed to go to Portland to meet with a client and thought it would make a nice mini vacay. This is my first visit to Portland so I invited my travel buddy and fellow AOH, Julie, to join me. We met up in ATL and headed out to PDX for our pacific northwest adventure!
|View of Mt Hood from the plane|
After arriving at PDX, getting the rental and grabbing a quick bite nearby, we stopped at The Grotto, The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother. We have both had a challenging 12 months so I thought this would be the perfect place to get a little peace and inspiration.
The Grotto was the promise to God Father Ambrose Mayer made when he was a young boy and his mother was near death while giving birth to his sister. In 1923, he found the land where The Grotto now sits and bid his life savings of $3,000. On May 29, 1924, 3,000 people gathered to celebrate the dedication of the Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother.
The Grotto is located off a relatively busy road just 10 minutes from the airport but upon entering you feel as though you are a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. The Calvary scene greets you as your turn into The Grotto. Given that the death of her son was the source of Mary's sorrow, it is fitting this is the first sculpture you encounter at The Grotto.
St. Philip Benizi was one of the original Servite priests. St. Philip went into hidding to avoid being considered for Pope in 1268. He survived off of herbs and drinking at a fountain. Since his death, water blessed in honor of St. Philip is said to have caused many remarkable cures.
The centerpiece of this beautiful place is Our Lady's Grotto featuring a replica of Michelangelo's Pietà. Carved out of the face of the cliff in 1923, The Grotto cave is 30 feet wide, 30 feet deep and 50 feet high. There is seating for several thousand in front where mass is offered every Sunday.
It wasn't until my visit to The Grotto did I learn about St. Peregrine and given my father is currently fighting prostate cancer, I was immediately drawn to him. (the following is from The Grotto website as my words could not do justice for this saint).
Peregrine labored for years as a brother in the Order and at age 60 was diagnosed with cancer of the leg brought on by many years of disciplined prayer while standing, resulting in varicose veins which became ulcerous. On the night before the scheduled amputation of his leg, Peregrine dragged himself to the foot of the cross in the community chapter room and fell into a deep trance-like sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that this leg was completely cured. Because of the miracle wrought by prayer, the Church canonized him in 1726 and named him patron of cancer sufferers. His Feast Day is May 4.
The lesson of Peregrine’s life is not that God worked a miracle, but that a faithful, trustful servant placed himself, unconditionally, in the hands of our Lord. Peregrine’s trust in God can be a model for us in dealing with the pain, sickness and crosses of our lives.
|Chapel of Mary|
The Grotto is made up of the lower and upper gardens. The lower gardens are free but there is a small admission fee to the upper gardens which are accessed via a 125 foot (10 story) elevator. The upper gardens are absolutely beautiful and worth the $6 as the money helps in maintaining The Grotto.
|St. Jude Thaddeus|
St. Joseph's Grove features the seven sorrows and joys of Mary and this life size statue of Joseph holding the baby Jesus.
The Assumption of Our Blessed Mother
For my non-Catholic friends, Catholics believe that immediately upon her death, Mary was "assumed" into heaven, body and soul, becuase of her virtuous and faith-filled life.
The Peace Pole marks the entrance into the Marguerite M. Casey Peace Garden. Throughout the garden are bronze plaques depicting the four mysteries of the rosary: joyful, sorrowful, glorious and luminous.
Throughout the upper gardens, there are shrines to the Blessed Mother from various countries: Lithuania, Poland, Vietnam, the Philippines and the Americas.
|Lithuanian Wayside Shrine|
|Our Lady of Czestochowa Polish Shrine|
|Dambana, The Filipino Shrine|
|Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas|
|Our Lady of Lavang Vietnamese Shrine|
Statues to Mary, St. Francis of Assisi and angels were also to be found.
The final stop in the upper gardens was the Meditation Chapel. The chapel is on the edge of the cliff and has a nice view. They say you can see Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier but I couldn't see them the day we were there.
After The Grotto, we may our way into town to settle in at our hotel. Dinner this evening was at The Feisty Lamb (no website...just google it). What a great find! The owner is the chef, server and probably dishwasher. She is assisted by her daughter who we're guessing is about 13. The limited menu offers about seven different a la carte items but each week the chef creates a three course dinner. We both opted for the chef's dinner and it was fabulous! The decor is pretty eclectic and despite some of the reviews we read, the service was good.
Julie and I both love a good Chinese foot massage so we figured what better place than Chinatown. Well, Portland's Chinatown is a little rougher than in most cities so while our foot massage was nice, I would stay away from Chinatown in Portland.