The grotto of St Anthony
In the early 19th century, where the grotto is now located, between the presbytery and the church, the land sloped fairly gently down towards Rue Haute. Work was started in 1900 on the basis of plans drawn up by Canon Gérard, who was the parish priest of Crupet for 44 years.
To excavate the grotto, help was needed from the parishioners to shift more than two hundred cubic metres of earth. Next, rocks (weighing around 300
tonnes) found in the nearby woods were brought to the site in cartloads. The cross placed on the altar was recovered from a 17th century tomb.
After three years of superhuman effort, the sanctuary of St Anthony of Padua was there for all to see! Most of the statues are plaster casts, apart from those of
Father Gérard, of the beggar and of the devil (an impressive depiction), all three of which are cast-iron.
At the back of the cave, to the left of St Anthony’s statue, a narrow staircase leads to the rear façade of the monument. To the right stands a statue of a large devil with horns and wings. Opposite him, St Anthony as a choirboy pushes him away. Above this scene, at the base of the arrow, can be seen the entrance
to a little cave in which Canon Gérard wished to be buried.
Among other things, people pray to St Anthony to help them find lost objects.