National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes
This popular pilgrimage site, devoted to the Virgin Mary, attracts hundreds of thousands of Catholic and non-Catholic visitors annually from around the world. Used as a place for prayer and devotion since 1805, the Grotto contains the oldest replica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes (constructed around 1875), where Mary appeared to Saint Bernadette in France some two decades earlier. Nestled in the lush Catoctin Mountains, many come here to attend mass, pray the Stations of the Cross, ask for healing, leave flowers or photographs, and collect its natural spring waters.
By Christian Mirasol, AFAR Local Expert
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