Mysteries of the Grotto: Prayers of a City

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Raising Hopes and Prayers, Meg Saligman Lights Up Basilica Dome for Papal Visit

Project HOME and World Meeting of Families

The public response has been overwhelming.

On Monday night, September 21, 2015, the dome of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul will come alive with moving images. The projection on the dome is the work of internationally renowned artist Meg Saligman and part of the Knotted Grotto installation that's attracting thousands since it opened on September 3rd. Every night during the week of Pope Francis’s visit, the projection will light the dome of the Basilica with images to raise the hopes and prayers contributed to the glowing grotto below.

The artwork, Knotted Grotto, is intended to delight and inspire, while making issues of homelessness, poverty and hunger visible during a time of immense national attention.

The central feature is a grotto - a place of pilgrimage, reflection, mystery, and wonder. Integrated into its wooden structure are thousands of strips of knotted and woven cloth inscribed with struggles collected from the community of Philadelphia and beyond. Visitors are invited to add their own knots and, if able, to untie and weave the knots of others into the grotto. The Knotted Grotto is constantly changing and growing. It opened with over 30,000 inscribed cloth and has quickly grown to over 50,000. Many have come from people around the world sent through the website.

“The public response has been overwhelming, and we want to give people of all walks of life a chance to participate,” said artist Meg Saligman.

Throughout time and across all cultures, a knot has symbolized the struggles of everyday life. In the tradition of Mary Undoer of Knots, a favorite painting of Pope Francis, Project HOME through the generosity of Leigh and John Middleton and Janet and John Haas commissioned artist Meg Saligman to create a work of public art at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, as part of the Mercy and Justice Campaign in honor of the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia in September 2015. The Mercy and Justice Campaign has four aspects: The Campaign for Justice, The Francis Fund, Knotted Grotto and Knotted Stole.

Project HOME is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that develops solutions to homelessness and poverty in Philadelphia. Meg Saligman is an internationally renowned artist who resides in Philadelphia.

For more information about Knotted Grotto and all the elements of the Mercy and Justice Campaign, visit or contact Meg Saligman or Sue Spolan at 215-789-9009. Check out the Knotted Grotto on social media using the hashtag #knottedgrotto. The Instagram is

Award winning artist Meg Saligman’s combines the classical with the contemporary. Her iconic work is conceived and executed with a master’s skill that consistently breaks new ground and elevates the field of public art. She’s created some of the largest art installations in the world, with works in Mexico City; Tanzania, Africa; Shreveport, Louisiana; Omaha, Nebraska, and her hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Sue Spolan

Sue Spolan
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Meg Saligman
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