Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Notre Dame de Lourdes, Jette

Brussels has many suprises. I was walking around Jette when I saw what looked like a graveyard, but it turned out to be much more interesting; it was a copy of the Lourdes Grotto, built out of concrete.

There were shrines dotted around and a lot of thought had gone into it. I met up with a gardening crew who explained that they were volunteers, meeting every Tuesday, working to restore the monument. so far it had taken then two years, but they had managed to clear away all the scrub and were beginning to plant flowers and shrubs.

It was a very peaceful place, even though it was so close to the main road and people kept popping in for a prayer or their lunch on this spring morning. Of course many of the shrines were exceptionally gory, but I really enjoyed my visit and i'll keep coming back to see how they're getting on with their restoration.

Oddly, I can't really find anything on the net about this unique spot. There are some more photos in my Flicks stream though.

3 comments:

MKWM said...

Wow, I had never heard of that place before. I found this link in French. The artificial grotto was built in 1915; people used to pray for the WW I soldiers.

quarsan said...

MK: Thanks for that info, I was wondering about it. The gardener told me that the volunteers have only been working for 2.5 years. It's taken most of that time just to clear it of scrub.

I'll go back in Summer and see what it's like in flower.

Francoise said...

This is a link that tells the story of how the grotto came to be built.

http://www.jette.irisnet.be/fr/bienven/photogrotte.htm

I grew up in Jette until I was 8. I went to school at ND de Lourdes, just a little farther down the street. Every day I passed in front of the grotto. I left Belgium in 1976 and only go back to visit my family.

I was glad to find the link because the priest mentioned there was the pastor when my father was an altar boy in the 1920s-30s and the name was familiar to me from all the stories my father told. Fond memories.