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SLU's Marian Prayer Grotto Dedicated Ahead of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

by Maggie Rotermund on 12/07/2021
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The Office of Mission and Identity at Saint Louis University dedicated a new Marian grotto Tuesday, Dec. 7, in anticipation of the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

Suwalsky dedicates grotto

David Suwalsky, S.J., Vice President for Mission and Identity at Saint Louis University, dedicates a new Marian prayer grotto on campus. Photo by Maggie Rotermund. 

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Patronal Feast Day of the United States of America and a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church. Masses will be held Wednesday, Dec. 8, across SLU’s campus.

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was the first infallible pronouncement ever given. The declaration was made by Pope Pius IX on Dec. 8, 1854, in a papal bull called “Ineffabilis Deus.” 

The prayer service and dedication was held in the green space between the Compton/Olive Garage and Chaifetz Arena. David Suwalsky, S.J., vice president for Mission and Identity, opened the service with a blessing.

SLU students Alex Bigos and Paul Gillam proclaimed the readings. Judi Buncher of the Office of Mission and Identity offered intercessions and Jessica Kerber, ACJ, adjunct faculty in Theological Studies, led the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

The statue of the Virgin Mary was previously installed on what is now the site of the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering building. 

Once completed, the Saint Louis University Marian Prayer Garden of The Immaculate Conception will be lit and the site will include decorative landscaping, benches and tables.


Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.