The Thank You Project: #182 (The Grotto at the University of Notre Dame)

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If there was anything that I needed most as a college student, it was some peaceful time to just reflect and calm my racing mind down. There was everything from classes to extracurricular activities to  worrying about mom and dad back home. Back then in my college days, it seems like days blended together, probably because of all the late nights I pulled. One thing I was extremely thankful for was the Grotto at Notre Dame. It is a place that is modeled after the original grotto in Lourdes, France. It is a fantastic place to take some quiet time and reflect about life and to pray quietly. Visitors of the grotto are allowed to light candles in order to remember someone dear in their life or for someone that needs extra special prayers. This place became the perfect place for me to reflect during my four years at Notre Dame.

One of the most memorable set of memories came through the Asian American Association and their grotto trips every Wednesday. There would be a core group of us from the club that would take the trip from Bond Hall down to the Grotto. We would all pray individually and light candles and then come together and pray an Our Father and state any intentions that were on our minds.

There was one specific time that I was not at Grotto Wednesday because I had flown back home to be with my mom after my dad passed away. From what I heard from people who went that Wednesday, there was a record crowd who all came together to pray for me and my family. The same thing happened before when tragedy struck for other members. I specifically remember the group being together when Steph’s grandmother passed away. The group always comes together and acts as a huge support system.

These nights together really symbolized the Notre Dame family to me. To think that the group of us would come together every Wednesday no matter what the weather: rain, clear skies, snow, blizzards, it just brings a smile to my face. Since I moved back to the South Bend area I am blessed to have the chance to continue going to the Grotto from time to time. I get to relive the feelings of unity I got whenever I visit. I still think it’s one of my favorite traditions during college as it really gave me the chance to bond with my Notre Dame family which helped me so much during those four years.

The Lermz

Michael Lerma graduated the University of Notre Dame in 2009 with an Information Technology Management degree. He is currently a senior Project Manager with the Nielsen Company.

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