Such a peaceful serenity can be experienced being outdoors. You can see it in your children and in yourself. The fresh breeze, the tranquility and beauty of nature, it can lead us into inspiration, awe and wonder at God’s creation. What a perfect setting to pray?
You will be free from the distractions of household; the TV, a beeping phone, the reminders of chores that you could be doing; a sock poking out from under the couch, fingerprints on the coffee table or strewn toys. Leave all that for a moment and spend some time with God.
Remember, Jesus went to the garden to pray..
Setting Up Your Grotto
Setting up your own grotto can be as simple or complicated as you like. The main thing is that it is there ready and waiting for you to visit and pray. The bonus is if you’ve struggled to create a dedicated daily prayer space in your home, this is your solution!
Step 1: Find the right place in your yard. Take a walk outside, look around for a space that feels right. Perhaps a quiet corner, somewhere nicely framed by trees, under a tree, or near a nice patch of flowers. Take into consideration whether you’d like a spot with a nice view of the sunset or neighbouring trees. I like that ours is situated so that wherever you are in the yard, you can see the cross.
Step 2: Decide on your features. You might like to go the whole hog and get a statue of Mary, Jesus or a favourite saint. This is something nice to aim for; but if you would like to set your grotto up today, start small. And you can gradually add to it over the years, you could make it a tradition to gift something to the grotto each Christmas or Easter.
Mine is very simple. I used items we already had. I hope to make or buy a Mary statue at some point, but I am very happy with the grotto for now, it does its job well and is already so inviting. I made the cross myself, from two forgotten pieces of wood I found in the bin! We already had a garden kneeler and a small table for the altar.
What do you need?
A cross would be a good start, and I would highly recommend the garden kneeler, it is too easy to be deterred from kneeling on the uneven hard ground, and continue walking by! But the kneeler invites you to pray. It felt natural to have an altar, it reminds us of the sacrifices and offerings we bring to offer the Lord in prayer.
It has been absolutely gorgeous seeing my children respond to this space. They call it ‘the chapel’ and have excitedly approached it spontaneously in the middle of their outdoor play. My 2 year old has tugged at my hand several times now, saying “I need pray my Hail Mary’s” and insisted I kneel with her and recite each line for her to repeat. I don’t get outside enough, and always feel a great sense of peace when I do. Being able to combine that with pray has been a really lovely experience. Every visit I have truly felt the presence of Our Lord and Our Lady.
Just recently we did a backyard stations of the cross, carrying our grotto cross, and finishing in our ‘outdoor chapel.’ Click here to find out what you need to do one at your home.
About the Author: Mother of 4 beautiful girls and a beautiful boy. Founder of the website and dedicated stay-at-home-mum. "My inspiration for the website was to create a platform for Catholic Mums to be able to connect with each other for support and to facilitate growth. I wanted a safe place to share thoughts on different family issues, with an underlying Catholic value system."