Over half a century ago, some locals believed they saw an apparition of Mary and with Aruba being predominantly Catholic, word of the sighting spread quickly and a tribute was built.
Today, it is the island’s answer to the famous Lourdes Grotto of France. It was decided that 1958 would best suit the statue’s unveiling, as that year was the 150th anniversary of St. Bernadette’s first holy vision in Lourdes.
A local priest, Father Erkamp, and one of his parishioners, Mrs. Maria Geerman, were instrumental in having the statue ordered and transported. The statue weighed over 1,540 pounds and took eight men to set in place.
Bishop Holterman blessed the site, and later, stone bleachers, lights, and a small statuette of a kneeling Bernadette were added.
Fresh, fragrant flowers can often be found at the Lourdes Grotto.
And for those fortunate enough to be on Aruba at the right time of the year, the congregation of the local St. Theresita church now holds an annual mass on February 11, to mark the feast day of the Lady of Lourdes.