Marquette University to dedicate Blessed Virgin Mary grotto on May 1

April 30, 2019

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki to bless the grotto

MILWAUKEE - Marquette University will formally dedicate its new Blessed Virgin Mary grotto Wednesday, May 1, at 3:30 p.m. behind the St. Joan of Arc Chapel in the center of the Marquette campus.  Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki will bless the statue at the dedication.

Marquette University President Michael Lovell announced the installation of the grotto featuring the Blessed Virgin upon the completion of an 18-month Ignatian Colleagues Project titled “Sacred Spaces,” in which he catalogued the numerous religious spaces and artifacts on campus that signify Marquette's Catholic, Jesuit identity. The statue of Mary was commissioned this past summer from Demetz Art Studio of Ortisei BZ, Italy.

"Throughout my life, Mary has been a steadying guide and a reminder that Jesus is God, but also human like every one of us. When we take time for reflection, Mary teaches us so much about simplicity, grace and strength," President Lovell said. "My hope is that this grotto will serve as a special and sacred place of devotion, inspiration and prayer for Marquette students, faculty, alumni and staff for decades to come."

Funded by several generous Marquette benefactors, the grotto is free-standing and designed to engage with the existing St. Joan of Arc garden elements. The statue of the Virgin Mary faces south and is nestled into a land form, designed to offer a sheltered space for the statue and a place for prayerful contemplation.

The timing of the dedication coincides with the beginning of the May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Father Jacques Marquette, for whom Marquette University is named, had a documented devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Historians note that the Jesuit explorer from the late 1600s often placed his travels under Mary's protection through devotion and prayer.

Media wishing to attend should contact Kevin Conway at or (414) 288-4745.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or