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3. The Grotto

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The grotto, which depicts the appearance of Our Lady to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France, was designed by Sister Louis Gabriel and dedicated on May 25, 1922, the Feast of the Ascension and the 25th anniversary of her entrance into the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. The artistic structure is made of coral rock gathered from the school grounds. Since her arrival in Key West in 1897, Sister had witnessed three hurricanes - 1909, 1910 and 1919 - which caused wide-spread destruction and the loss of many lives. She desired to seek Our Lady's protection by building this grotto in her honor. As all residents can attest, the island has been spared severe devastation since the erection of the grotto.