Dating back to 1883, the Calvary-Grotto Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes is one of the Historic Places in Thibodaux that remain in constant use to this day.
In 1865, with the Grotto in mind, Rev. Charles Menard, Pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church, planted two rows of Oak Trees behind the old church to form an alley to where the grotto was to be built. Early records show that 2,400 cart-loads of dirt were required to form a hillock seventeen feet high. The grotto was built of bricks. On December 16, 1883, a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was placed in the grotto.
The addition of the Calvary group of cast iron statues purchased from the House of Verrbout in Paris, France. In his description of the statues Rev. Menard stated "The Execution of the anatomy of the Christ is remarkable. The Blessed Virgin is striking in her expression of extreme sorrow...filled with superhuman resignation...St. John is full of faith and love, and St. Mary Magdalene is remarkable in her attitude of meditation and repentence...This group is a real masterpiece."
On October 8, 1884, Archbishop Francis Leray of New Orleans Blessed the statues and gave the Pontifical blessing to the crowd of about 2000 persons in attendance at the solemn and impressive ceremony. "Everyone returned home with the piety which the ceremony inspired", recorded Rev. Menard.
In later years, the statues of St. Joseph, St. Anne, St. Jude and St. Theresa of the child Jesus were added in niches of the grotto.
The Shrine-Grotto continues to be a place of meditation and prayer, as no doubt, the Rev. Menard anticipated over a century ago.