St. Francis of Assisi Church, two miles south and two miles east of present day Canute, was an important outpost of the Roman Catholic Church in western Oklahoma. Founded by Father Steber in 1899, it served as "the mother parish of the west", from which missionary priests ministered to churches in Magnum, Sayre, Cheyenne, Anthon, Thomas, Elk City, Clinton, Cordell, Hobart, and Canute.
Another church, Holy Family, was established in 1926 to serve the parishioners of Canute. The church building still stands on the corner of Old Route 66 and 9th Street.
The heritage of plains Christianity is embodied in the grotto and the bronze crucifixion group built in 1928 by the parishioners of Holy Family Church of Canute. The grotto serves as a monument to the settlers of western Oklahoma who struggled with tornadoes, drought, and blue northers to establish a prosperous community while maintaining their beliefs.
The stone for the tomb was hauled from the Red River and the native red granite is from Granite, a town 40 miles to the southwest.