Lourdes Grotto-An inspirational ‘apparition’
Driving near San Nicolas at night, you may see an ‘apparition’ of an illuminated woman floating right out of a rock wall. Relax, your eyes are not playing tricks on you, it is a statue of the Virgin Mary placed in the cave of Seroe Pretoe (Black Hill.) Over half a century ago, some locals believed they saw an apparition of "Mary’ appear here, and with Aruba being predominately Catholic, word spread quickly and a tribute was built. Today, it is Aruba’s answer to the famous Lourdes Grotto of France (without the water.)
It was decided that the year 1958 would best host its unveiling since it coincided with the 150th anniversary of young Bernadette’s (now St.Bernadette) first holy vision. Local priest Father Erkamp and parishioner Mrs. Maria Geerman were instrumental in having the statue ordered and transported. It weighed over 700 kilos and took eight men to erect it. Mrs. Geerman asked to be laid to rest in the same box the statue was carried in… and she eventually was.
The site was blessed by a Bishop Holterman. Later, stone bleachers, lights, and a small statuette of a kneeling Bernadette were added. It is a lovely spot for quiet reflection and you will often find fresh, fragrant flowers adorning it. There is an annual mass held here by the congregation of local St.Theresita’s church each February 11th to mark the feast day of the ‘Lady of Lourdes.’
Lourdes Grotto is open to the public, ask your hotel information desk for directions.
Susan Campbell- Aruba Historical Interlude-- 2002