You are now situated in the ‘Mariatuin’ (Mary garden), in front of the Mariagrot (Mary cave), also called Lourdesgrot (Lourdes cave). In 1922, the Mariagrot was built by the Lazarists (check the built-in brick with date).
In the “shell-shaped” back of this cave the 7 Sorrows of Mary were located. They already disappeared soon since they hadn’t been made of maintainable clay. The round shape of the back has been constructed like a snail’s shell and has the symbolical meaning ‘the woman’s womb' since Mary was regarded as the mother of all mothers.
In the cave there were several holes which were translucent and showed the 7 Sorrows and the pietà. You can still observe the pietà in the ruin, however not as a sculpture but as a picture. It gives a good impression of what it used to look like. The touching pictures of the 7 Sorrows reminded us of Mary’s suffering. Mary; one of us, a woman of our earth. She gave birth to Jesus and has suffered the incomparable hurt of watching her son dying at the Holy Cross.
MARY’S 7 SORROWS
1. Mary’s suffering which announces all other Sorrows is Simeon’s prophecy in the temple of Jerusalem.
2. The escape to Egypt
3. The disappearance of Baby Jesus in the temple
4. The crucifer: Mary meets Jesus on his way to the Mount Calverie (Golgotha)
5. The crucifixion: Maria stands under Jesus’ cross
6. Taking off the cross: Maria embraces Jesus’ death body
7. The interment
The 6th Sorrow was the most important one, an example of piety (pietà is a representation of the Virgin Mary carrying her dead son on her lap). A pietà can be both a painting and a sculpture. A well-known example of the latter form is the pieta of Michelangelo. The sculpture (Pietà) inside the Mariagrot can be seen above the entrance of parish church ‘Onze Lieve Vrouw van 7 Smarten’ in Panningen. This production of Mary’s Seven Sorrows can be observed in the Mariakapel (chapel) of this church each day.
On the outside of the Mariagrot you will find an inscribed tile with the following text:
‘Mothers, always think of us, we have commemorated you here together
In front of the Mariagrot there was a sculpture of Holy Bernadette. In 1858 Maria te Lourdes (France) appeared to Bernadette. For that reason the cave is both called ‘Lourdesgrot’ and ‘Mariagrot’.
The terrain at the back of the Mariagrot was called ‘Nieuw Schijf’. Some Lazarists, from the neighborhood Schijf near the Brabant village Sprundel wanted to build a portrayal of the bridge in Schijf.
This was done accordingly.