Bill and I were not sure what to expect when we set out to find The Grotto located a bit northeast of
The Grotto is not listed as one of the top “things to see” in Portland which is perhaps just as well, for without crowds of tourists it remains an oasis of beauty, peace and tranquility midst the city’s busy environs.
The shrine consists of two levels. The lower level built at the base of a towering cliff is the site of the Grotto moss-laden cave itself, 30 feet wide, 30 feet deep and almost 50 feet high with a Carrara marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta as the focal point. Also on that level is a visitors’ complex and conference center and a lovely chapel. Bill and I arrived in time to visit the Grotto, warm up with some hot coffee in the visitors’ center and attend a noon Mass with a scattering of other religious: 4 priests and one Servite brother in his religious habit on the altar, and a few nuns.
The upper level is reached by taking an elevator 110 feet upward to the second level where the monastery, the botanical gardens, and the meditation chapel with a glass wall facing the panorama of the