Savard, shown here in a familiar role, taking care of the flowers and
the grounds of the Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine located on the top of the hill
just off Van Horne Street in Sudbury, is one of the true friends of the grotto.
In fact, when you mention Ernie Savard's name today, you automatically think of
The Grotto was erected in 1907 along the east side of the hill,
embedded in a 20-foot rock protecting a beautiful nine-foot statue of Mary. In
1954, fourteen marble statuettes, depicting the stations of the cross were
erected on the site by the Rosary Club.
Since then, other statues and spiritual
areas have been developed, making this one of the most beautiful, tranquil
places in the entire region.
During the 1950's, thousands of people gathered to pay homage to Our Lady of
Lourdes, but in the years that followed, the area fell into a period of neglect,
reaching its lowest point when vandals attempted to steal the statue of Mary in
At that time, Ernie Savard and a newly formed group called Friends of the Grotto
began a clean up and improvement campaign. Today, Ernie Savard, fellow members
of the Knights of Columbus, and several other volunteers, have devoted their
lives to keeping the Shrine clean and trimmed so that people of the area and
tourists from around the world can enjoy the splendour of this site.
"It's surprising how many people come up here," stated Savard, who
spends several hours a day taking care of the property. "People are looking
at the Blessed Mother and it is as though she is saying, bring this place back
Savard pointed out that many people who visit the shrine experience a deep sense
of satisfaction and inner peace. Some are inspired to change their lives for the
better. "Everyone has problems. There is so much pain in the world. A place
like this helps people to get over their troubles."
Ernie Savard knows that some day The Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, which is
considered one of Sudbury's sacred places, will once again attract thousands of
people. When it does, we will have Ernie Savard and all of the Friends of the
Grotto to thank.