Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project



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Institution Name: Dominican University
Original/Historic Place Name: Grotto
Location on Campus: main campus
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1929original construction; dedication Unknown
Type of Place: Landscape site
Type of landscape–
Distinct topography:
Located in a heavily wooded area that was probably an original Oak Savannah.
Small-scale features:
Mother Mary statue located at the crown of a small mound that contains stone steps and a stone path.
Large-scale features:
Mother Mary statue located at the crown of a small mound that contains stone steps and a stone path.
Other characteristics:
Peace Pole: On 9/11/02 a peace pole was constructed with the phrase "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in four languages; the Peace Pole and base were constructed from an oak tree that was removed from near the site.
ca. 1929-present (2007)outdoor space (used for meditation and praying)
ca. 2002memorial site

Significance: architecture, culture, history
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The Grotto is significant to the university and the Dominican Sisters. It was heavily used in earlier years by the many sisters that lived and/or were educated at Dominican University, formerly Rosary College. It is a place for reflection, which is an important aspect of Dominican life and teaching and is carried through the university planning and teaching. Students would visit the Grotto daily for reflection, peace, and prayer. The Grotto will undergo a significant restoration over the next two years to highlight the history, mission, and schools at the university.

Rosary Sunday, the first Sunday of October, was started by the RC Auxiliary, a group of women who dedicated services to the Chapel. That Sunday, dedicated to the Feast of the Holy Rosary, was originally celebrated on the front porch of Rosary House. When the Chapel opened in 1926 and the Grotto was built in 1929 with the blessing of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes on October 6, 1929, Rosary Sunday was celebrated at the Grotto with a procession from the Chapel to the Grotto, with processors carrying roses and saying the Rosary.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Centennial Magazine. Online (2006). Dominican University, River Forest, IL.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections

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Last update: November 2006