St. Maxilmilian Kolbe & the Sacro Convento Grotto


During the January 2016 meeting of our Minister General with the world’s Minister Provincials in Assisi, Minister Provincial of Our Lady of the Angels Province, Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv., was photographed in the grotto of the garden of the Sacro Convento with the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes that was blessed by St. Maximilian Kolbe in 1933.


On September 6, 1933 (three months prior to the December 3rd official canonization of Saint Bernadette, by Pope Pius XI), St. Maximilian Kolbe stopped in Assisi on his way back to his missionary work in Japan. Friar Bonaventure M. Moariu, OFM Conv., the Master of Novices at the time, invited him to bless a statue placed in the grotto in the garden of the Sacro Convento (Sacred Convent) of the Basilica di San Francesco d’Assisi (Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi), home to the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi. According to a document in the archives of the Sacro Convento, St. Maximilian’s ceremony began with the chanting of O Gloriosa Virginum then his blessing of the statue that he then placed in the grotto while Tota Pulchra was being chanted. After the blessing, St. Maximilian was a presenter at a conference there about the Blessed Mother. At the end of this event, È l’ora che pia and Ave, Ave, Ave Maria! were sung. There are many such grottoes around the world commemorating the eighteen apparitions of the Virgin Mary (who identified herself: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” 1858) in the grotto of Massabiele, Lourdes, as seen by St. Bernadette Soubirous (Feast Day April 16). In 1862, The Apparitions in Lourdes were considered as authentic. Since 1858 there have been approximately 7000 cases of unexplained cures and 69 cases that have been recognised as miraculous by the Church.

grotto and trees with walkway

The stone grotto on the grounds of our Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City, MD is just a few feet away from our own Open Air Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe

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