A Mysterious Grotto on a hill side in Bellevue Pa. always locked but carefully attended

The first time I saw the Franciscan Grotto  on the hillside along Oak Street in Bellevue Pa. was when I was a young child in 1960's  my father had stopped with my mom and brothers to see his good friend while he was hospitalized at Suburban General Hospital . It was just getting dark when we noticed the faint light of  devotional candles coming from the hill side .

What was this mysterious place on a hill surrounded by a a locked wrought iron gate ?





Well it turns out it once  belonged to a group of Franciscan 's  whose Holy Family  Friary is located on the other side of the grotto and it was built during the depression era in the form of the famous grotto at Lourdes France.
Where the apparition of the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to 3 children.


 I remember the story well having attended St Basil's Grade School and seeing a  B&W  movie about the event  in the church basement one time while attending the school.
 While at one time the grotto was used for services it has been  closed to the public for over 30 years 
 and is now maintained by community volunteers and employees of the former Suburban general which is no longer a emergency room type hospital but rehab and skilled nursing center. which now owns the property  But you can still see the faint glow of devotional candles as you pass in the evenings.



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