Tag Archives: Our Lady of Sorrows Grotto

And the MMU Grotto Is Indeed Historic


Jane Gilmor, professor emeritus of art, gets ready to take part in a scarf dance at Our Lady of Sorrows Grotto. The Grotto was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The end of the semester, especially the spring semester, is a stressful, busy time—and I’m feeling a bit guilty typing this as a textbook is also open in front of me and I need to read that final chapter and get lectures for the final week ready.

But this spring is also ending on a rather arty note, which is nice.

Paha was launched during Scholarship Day last week. The readings were quite interesting—and it will be after the semester before I can read much of it, but I’m looking forward to it.

Student editors of Paha, the MMU literary publication. Paha, by the way, is a word for the kind of glacial hill that MMU is built on.

Student editors of Paha, the MMU literary publication. Paha, by the way, is a word for the kind of glacial hill that MMU is built on.

The Bell Choir performed at Meth Wick, and will ring for Cinco de Mayo and also at the graduate hooding ceremony. I downloaded photos to another computer, but will add some later. The ringing at Meth Wick went well.

Students sang and joked around for the talent show on Thursday. Here, one of the newspaper editors (who also sang later) wins a $1 prize for answering a trivia question. I also won $1, which I probably should not have, but it was too painful to wait for a student t come up with the answer that Greenland is the world’s largest island—an offensive answer to some of our Australian students, but Australia s considered a continent.

Taylor wins $1.

Taylor wins $1.

And on Saturday, a ceremony noted an important milestone—Our Lady of Sorrows Grotto, built by William Lightner, who also constructed Warde Hall, was recognized because it has just been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Of course, there were white-clad dancers.

Granddaughter went with me to Grotto ceremony. She likes rocks!

Granddaughter went with me to Grotto ceremony. She likes rocks!

Well, cool. Have to go now—too much to do—but I have enjoyed these interludes in the end-of-semester hustle and bustle.


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Filed under History, Mount Mercy

Here There Be Monsters … Or Should Be

Grotto monsters

Two drakes, the closest we are to Grotto creatures, April 17

Aye, talk like a pirate. A Grotto pirate.

One of my favorite spots on the MMU campus is in need of some TLC—parts of Our Lady of Sorrows Grotto are falling into disrepair. I guess gluing rocks to cement is not a long-term construction solution for the climate of Iowa.

Anyway, I know the Art Program has ongoing efforts to preserve the Grotto, and more power to them.

It’s a serene place, both a place of folk art and a place of spiritual symbolism. As you can see from my earlier posts, I do like the Grotto.

Ducks on the way

Comings at you, a flotilla of feathered fiends! OK, two quiet ducks.

But it would be whole lot cooler with, ala Loch Ness, a mysterious creature. Picture it, some tipsy juniors are erratically weaving their way back in the general direction of the Lower Campus apartments, when suddenly a scaly head breaks the surface of the calm Grotto pond. No sound needed—beyond the student’s startled screams.

Ta-dah! Instant sobriety.

Or think of how much more exciting campus tours would be if a few “don’t feed the creature” signs were necessary to ensure safety near the murky, mysterious waters of the MMU pond.

Sigh. The best we can do is an aggressive squirrel or two. And a couple of drakes.


Squirrel! MMU tree rodents have been known to be aggressive, or so students tell me. They've never bothered me. Not much of a Grotto creature.

But that’s OK. The upcoming “Walk of Mercy,” part of the MMU Center project, will make the Grotto a more prominent part of campus. I don’t think that will detract from it—in fact, I think it’s an enhancement.

Still, can’t blame a guy for wishing for a little Loch Ness magic.

In the narrows

Mallard drakes negotiate "the narrows" near the 10 Commandment Monument.

Drake closeup

A closer look at the dynamic drake duo.

Reflecting drakes

Drake wake on the reflecting pond.

Final duck image

The final duck image--it's all water under the (Grotto) bridge. Maybe a troll for the bridge?


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Spring and Sorrow–Flowers In The Grotto

Just a short, bonus post. With the exception of the box elder bug on the outside wall of Warde Hall, all images are from Our Lady of Sorrows Grotto, Mount Mercy University, March 1. March starts as winter in Iowa, but spring can’t be held back!

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