The “Mary’s Cave” locally called Gua Maria, is located in the lower part of the church of San Francesco d’Assisi in Cibadak, exactly behind the Mardi Yuana school.
The building is magnificent and dominates the valley. The church accommodates around 300 people. The left side of the building is provided with toilets for the arrival of large groups of pilgrims. The cave is reached via a staircase and in the center of the field dominates the statue of St. Francis of Assisi (patron of the parish). St. Francis is known as an animal lover and able to communicate with them.
Often at 11.00am a special mass is celebrated for pilgrims arriving from various locations, from May to October, the ideal time to visit these areas of Indonesia.
Before the celebration, papers are distributed on which pilgrims can write their prayer intentions which will then be placed in a container in front of the altar. After the celebration, everyone gathers in front of the altar to receive the priest’s blessing of water and religious objects.
As in Lourdes, on the left side of the cave can be found a water source from the mountain. It is said to be the best water on the island of Java, in fact it can be used without boiling it. It is here that the pilgrims take, collect the water, drink it and bring it home after the priest’s blessing.
Going down the concrete stairs, there is a small prayer room with another statue of the Virgin Mary. Also in this place we find baths. These services are no coincidence, because for Balinese it is a very important sign, which is combined with prayer, it is the symbol of purification from the interior to that of the exterior. So a sign of purification that becomes an indispensable and necessary step. A bathe that Balinese takes too, thanks to a source of hot water, just to signify a second baptism, a washing of the spirit.
The cave was inaugurated by Msgr. Michael C. Angkur, OFM, Bishop Bogor on 30 May 2004, the cave of Mary Kahuripan (in the Sudanese language means life) will have to be improved and developed, especially in consideration of the fact that it is the only Marian grotto with warm water sources, because it allows us to support the development of this Marian sanctuary with its parish.
“Gua Maria Sumber Kahuripan,” Just A Note, drianimator.blogspot.com, Oct. 27, 2010.