Monday, July 27, 2015

Minnesota - 1st stop part two

Grotto of Redemption

Actually the Grotto is in West Bend, IA, but we visited it from Minnesota, while staying in Le Sueur.

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
The Resurrection 


Praying and St. Michael the Archangel

All of the statues throughout the grotto are Italian Mosaic and Carrara Marble.

More random stone work...

A shot from the south side

A plant was growing in 
   one of the corners

A section of the outside wall of the museum and gift shop - and a close up of the heart. 

                  Mary's Grotto


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.
Adjacent to the Grotto is Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, inside is the Christmas Chapel, built in 1927 by Father Dobberstein. It is considered his finest work and contains mineral specimens thought to be too delicate to be used in the outdoor grotto's. It contains a Brazilian amethyst that weighs over 300 lbs.
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!

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