From an Abandoned Swimming Pool to a Charming Garden of Prayer
As late as 2004, the present location of the Memorial of Gratitude to the Mother of God was an abandoned 80-year-old once elegant swimming pool in ruins. As time passed, it was filled with earth, served no purpose and had no future outlook. Now it has been converted into a place of exceptional beauty, prayer and encounter of people with the Mother of God. Where once people came seeking health of body now come to promote their health of soul. An unusual power seems to draw a variety of people here from far and near.
Everyone who comes here senses something unusual about this place. Many feel as though it were a bit of heaven on earth. Here they find what their souls long for, what material prosperity or other life’s pleasures do not give. Of course it is not easy to deceive people. But some unknown sense seems to spontaneously draw a variety of people here.
It seems that the Mother of God has chosen this abandoned pool to meet her children here and to help them.
The natural beauty of this location and its surroundings appeals to those who come here. At the very top of the hill, as a backdrop for the Memorial of Gratitude to the Mother of God stands the monastery of the Basilian Fathers. Stone steps surrounded by a terraced garden with a variety of flowers descend to the shrine. At the bottom of the stairs on a pedestal stands a metre-high statue of the Immaculate Virgin Mary of white marble, with a kneeling angel at each side. Below the statue a coloured crucifixion is cemented into the wall of the pedestal and beneath it a metal representation of the Last Supper, and below it is a marble altar. Above the statue of the Mother of God is a metal cupola-like structure covered in glass. Behind the statue is a background of artistically designed stained glass in yellow and blue. Thus the Memorial of Gratitude represents the Mother of God, angels, the crucifixion, the Last Supper and an altar. Along the stone walls of the former swimming pool are the Stations of the Cross. Everything here is conducive to reflection and prayer.