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Hurricane Deflector Grotto.

Hurricane Deflector Grotto

Field review by the editors.

Key West, Florida

In 1922 Sister Louis Gabriel led a contingent of nuns and, using local coral rock, built an Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine grotto behind St. Mary's Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church. According to local lore, she blessed the structure at its May 25 dedication and vowed, "As long as the Grotto stands, Key West will never experience the full brunt of a hurricane."

Hurricane Deflector Grotto.

Since that day, Key West has been in the path of several hurricanes, but has suffered surprisingly minimal damage. Locals attribute this to the dedication of Key West residents, who regularly make pilgrimages to the Grotto to light candles and pray for protection.

So be careful: don't interrupt the devout if you visit, or you might break the good mojo.

The Grotto grounds also offer a Rosary Path -- resembling a giant loop of rosary beads with a dangling cross -- and a nun graveyard where some of the tombstones incorporate sculpted nun heads, including Sister Gabriel's.

Hurricane Deflector Grotto

Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea

1010 Windsor Ln, Key West, FL
Windsor Ln and Truman Ave. Between the Basilica and the Adoration Chapel.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Grave of the Bound WomanGrave of the Bound Woman, Key West, FL - < 1 mi.
Key West Cemetery: Wacky EpitaphsKey West Cemetery: Wacky Epitaphs, Key West, FL - < 1 mi.
Six-Toed Cats of Ernest HemingwaySix-Toed Cats of Ernest Hemingway, Key West, FL - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Big Manatee, Key West, FL - 2 mi.

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