Monday, June 18, 2012

Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

After leaving the game, visiting touchdown Jesus, and a quick stop at the bookstore, we headed to the other side of campus to visit the church. I'm borrowing a photo from Google to show the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the Golden Dome since it was dark by the time we made it over there.

 The famous Golden Dome sits atop the Main Building and is the centerpiece of Notre Dame's campus. When originally built, it was where students learned, ate meals, and resided. Now, it serves primarily as the headquarters for the Notre Dame administration. It was built in 1879 when the previous building was destroyed by fire. This is actually the third structure on this site.

Regilded in 2005, the Golden Dome was first added to the building in 1882. Impressively, the regilding processes uses only about a fist-full of gold leaf to cover the entire structure. Atop the Dome, you will find a 19-foot tall statue of Mary. With this adornment, the Main Building is 187 feet tall, making it the second tallest structure on campus after the church.

Next door to the Main Building sits the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Construction began on this magnificent, Gothic-inspired structure in 1870. It was later consecrated in 1888. The church itself forms a large, cross-shaped structure. 

A highlight of the church is its stained glass windows. Installed in 1873, these 44 windows give Notre Dame the largest collection of 19th century French stained glass in the world.

 In 1992, Pope John Paul II elevated the Church of the Sacred Heart to the status of Basilica.

The pictures don't truly show the beauty of this church.

Since 2002, Sunday masses from the Basilica have been broadcast nationwide. You can even find them on iTunes.

Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

I was moved by how spiritual the Grotto felt. The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is based on the famed French shrine where the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Bernadette on 18 occasions in 1958. Notre Dame founder Father Edward Sorin reproduced the shrine at one-seventh the size at his new campus.

Made primarily with boulders from surrounding farms, there is a small piece of stone from the original French grotto located in the right-hand side of the shrine directly below the statue of Mary.

Aside from these three areas, the rest of the Notre Dame campus is pretty bland architecturally.

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