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Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, Grotto: Interior of grotto as it appeared
In contrast to the grandness of Rosary Square and the various basilicas the grotto at Massabielle where St Bernadette's visions took place is very simple and stark. The recess of the grotto itself is undecorated, although a plain stone altar and lectern have been placed there so that Mass can be said. Above the main recess is the niche where the apparitions took place and Fabisch's statue now stands. (In 1864, the Lyonnais sculptor Joseph-Hugues Fabisch was commissioned to create a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes based on Bernadette's descriptions.) The spring Bernadette is said to have dug can be seen at the rear of the grotto, shielded by a glass cover. Some of the rock walls around the grotto bear clear signs of deliberate alteration, presumably to improve access for pilgrims. It is no longer clear what the original configuration of the grotto was.