One of the bonuses (and there are many) with the Convent is the Grotto. Grottos have a long history in the Catholic Church and for movie-goers I can recommend watching “Song of Bernadette” for some context.
The Convent’s Grotto was opened on 8th December 1953 by the Bathurst bishop. The statues were donated by Bob Crowe, the brother of one of the sisters and the Grotto was built from Cudgegong marble from Simon Sanon. Local parishioners Neil Gallagher, Bill Sparkes, George Carroll, Bill Junge, Pat Frappell and others helped build the Grotto.
When I arrived at the Convent, one of the first challenges was to do justice to the Grotto. Locals advised that one of the Fathers had planted the ivy which now engulfed the Grotto to the point that some thought it had been knocked down and more recent arrivals didn’t know it existed.
Good friends had a working bee on the Rylstone Street Feast weekend which made a huge impact. More chopping and weedkilling has reduced some of the rampaging ivy but there is still some ground to cover before it is up to replanting.
In the meantime it is gratifying to hear that locals are stopping to have a look, neighbours have reported people stopping to take photos and local children are visiting as part of Confirmation classes. The structure can now clearly be seen as can the statues which are in remarkably good condition. At least everyone can appreciate all the hard work around 50 years ago by parishioners.
Still a long way to to but I think we are past most of the hard work.