West Bend, Iowa: The Grotto of the Redemption
This breathtaking Grotto is the work of Father Paul Matthias Dobberstein, originally from Rosenfeld, Germany. Father Paul came to the U.S. in 1892 at the age of 20.
He entered seminary in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during which time he became ill.
He prayed to God and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the grace of health and promised that he would build a shrine to honor Mary if he recovered. This was the result.
The Grotto is built almost entirely of natural materials and contains one of the largest collections of semi-precious stones in the world. Other materials used include petrified wood, stalactites and stalagmites and Italian Marble.
By the time of Father Paul's death in 1954, the grotto encompassed an entire city block. It contains 9 separate grottoes, each one showing a scene from the life of Christ.
A visit here brings a sense of peace and tranquility.
The Grotto is open 7 days a week, 365 days each year. There are guided tours of the Grotto available from May through mid-October and it is even pet-friendly.Check their website for details. Or, you may line up a tour any time of year by appointment.
In addition to the beautiful grounds you will find a gift shop, cafe and museum.
There are also campsites with 30-amp hook-ups, a restroom and shower house and a central water and dump site for RV's and tents.
photos courtesy the Grotto of the Redemption.