Stories from The Grotto

  • Ribbons of Prayer

    Ribbons of Prayer

    Philly knots grotto weaves threads of life and faith

    In the shadow of Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, a massive public art installation intertwines the hopes, pains, joy and sorrows of life, elevating them to a form of prayer and art. 

    Called the Mary, Undoer of Knots Grotto, locals and visitors alike are able to tie ribbons of knots to the grotto’s structure, each representing personal problems. They can also remove a knot to pray with, carrying the struggles of others.

    “Throughout time and across all cultures, a knot has been used to symbolize tension and struggle,” according to the grotto’s official website, The image of Mary, Undoer of Knots is said to be Pope Francis’ favorite image of the Blessed Mother.

    A work by Philadelphia artist Meg Saligman, the ongoing project by Philadelphia’s Project HOME and the World Meeting of Families, is drawing together all walks of life.

    Sometimes reminiscent of Himalayan prayer flags waving in the wind, here are just some of the stories of those who tied knots at the grotto.