By wagon and by truck, by child’s cart and by hand, great stones and little stones, red stones and white stones have been trundled across the countryside of New Lebanon, N.Y., to grow into a pile, background and setting for a shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes to be erected in New Lebanon valley. The work has been going on for seven months, with persons from the valley and from near and far away, contributing their stones, or if unable, their funds.

The shrine to be erected is the brain child of Rev. John LeFebvre, pastor of the Immaculate Conception church in New Lebanon. He gained his idea from the peculiar nature of the countryside, with its mountains to the east and brooks running into the valley. The most striking point was that the church to which he came was dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, which in mind brought it close to Lourdes, where, according to legend, the Virgin announced herself to Bernadette.

The fact was mentioned to both parishes of Lebanon and Stephentown and the pastor asked the parishioners to furnish the material for the building of the grotto.

The people began to respond by bringing field stones from a radius of 20 miles. Wagon loads and truck loads were brought in day after day. Little children with kiddie carts and push carts came from three or four miles away and carted their offering with much devotion. Not only the people of Lebanon have contributed to the pile of stones, but people for many miles around have done likewise. One person has even ordered a carload of stones from Coral Gables, Florida. From surrounding cities, people in their automobiles brought field stones and those who could not do so left their offerings to help with the construction of the shrine.

This grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes was designed by Father LeFebvre himself. It is his own conception and he intends to erect the most beautiful affair of this kind in this part of the country.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989. She can be reached at