This place is absolutely amazing and due to all the pictures Nancy took, it needed its own post. The Grotto of the Redemption is the largest man-made grotto in the world. It is sometimes referred to as the "Eight Wonder of the World."
It contains the largest collection of precious stones and gems found anywhere in one location. Petrified wood, stalactite and stalagmites, malachite, jasper, quartz crystals, and sea shells are among the items used. It has nine separate grotto's, each portraying a scene in the life of Christ.
The Grotto was built completely by hand by Father Paul Dobberstein (1872-1954). He started construction in 1912. He worked on it for 42 years, winter and summer, setting the ornamental rocks and gems into concrete. When he passed in 1954 the Grotto covered one city block.
Matt Szerensce (1894-1979), a parishioner, and Father Louis Greving (1921-2002), Father Dobberstien's successor, worked side-by-side with him and furthered his work after his death. The attention to detail is exquisite and really needs to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.
Garden of Eden
Jesus as a boy, with Joseph and Mary.
Sermon on the Mount
Each letter is made up of little square pieces of stone.
Random stone work...
The pictures below are a wall separating the walkways - the date the construction started - a pillar at one of the entrances
Garden of Gethsemane
The Cross at Calvary
The Entombment of Jesus
The Tomb is empty
Praying and St. Michael the Archangel
All of the statues throughout the grotto are Italian Mosaic and Carrara Marble.
More random stone work...
Moses and the 10 commandments - inside his grotto and the hill from the outside.
Stations of the Cross - some were being repaired
Stations one, two and three
|A view from above|
Stations six and seven.
Stations 8 and 9 back and front.
The backs of all of them were decorated.
|Stations ten, eleven and twelve|
In between each station was an altar and under each station was a description.
Stations thirteen and fourteen are the cross and entombment.
|The base of the manger|
|Mary, Drummer Boy, Shepard and Joseph.|
The Shepard looking for his flock
Above the 22 foot bird's eye maple, hand carved altar is an Ascension mural painted by Father Dobberstein's brother, Bernard, in 1929.
In front of the church's entrance is a fountain and a statue of Joseph and baby Jesus
Last but not least another relic was discovered on this site. An actual working phone booth!
We so enjoyed visiting this place that we went back a second day. Without sounding to woo-woo the energy in the grotto was amazing, there is a peacefulness you can feel while wandering through the stones.
We hope you have enjoyed all of the pictures and if you ever get a chance to get to West Bend, IA do so, you won't be disappointed.
Till we meet again....
Happy Trails to you!