The property was bought and developed as an answer to a promise Fr. Ambrose Mayer made as a young boy. His mother was near death after giving birth to his sister. He prayed for their survival and vowed to do a great work for the church. He found a large plot of land that, with help, he purchased and built a tribute to Mary. A large grotto was hewn out of the cliff left behind when the land was quarried by the Union Pacific Railroad for their rail beds.
An elevator ride to the top of the cliff leads to a second part of the property that was developed as parkland with areas for reflection and prayers. There are areas dedicated to St. Joseph, the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, various saints, and, of course, the Virgin Mary.