The fiftieth anniversary of the 1858 apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes inspired the monks to construct a Lourdes Grotto. In 1910, young monks began clearing an area on the north shore of Lake Sagatagan to create the shrine. The student paper, The Record, reported:
"The Blessed Virgin statue is placed in a niche of rubble-stones, facing the lake. A beautiful fountain graces the lawn in front of the statue. . . . On September 8, 1912, the Feast of the Birth of Mary, the Grotto was solemnly blessed by Abbot Peter Engel, OSB. He expressed his wish that as the limpid waters emanate from the fountain, so God’s blessings may flow upon those who hold the heart of Mary in honor."
From Klingeman, David, OSB. "Saint John's Monastic Memorials to Mary," Abbey Banner, vol. 5, no. 1, Spring 2005, p. 4-6.
For more information:
Roloff, Fr. Ronald O.S.B. "Now it is in building," Scriptorium, Spring 1946, p. 70.