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Grotto of the Redemption

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The Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, IA is the largest grotto ever built. It is a memorial honoring the Virgin Mary. It was begun in 1912 by Father Paul Dobberstein when he was cured of pneumonia after he prayed to the Virgin. He was inspired by the European tradition of holy grottos and shrines and traveled thousands of miles searching for minerals to embellish the Grotto. It incorporates the largest collection of cut and polished agates in the world. With help of community and a full-time helper, he worked for over 45 years planning and building nine shrines that illustrate the story of the Redemption. There is a path that links the shrines and leads past smaller shrines representing the Stations of the Cross. Marble statues from Italy are set in separate grottos. In addition, Dobberstein built a lake for fishing and skating, a small zoo and restaurant for visitors. Dobberstein also built nearly a dozen other grottos and monuments in the Midwest including the Holy Family Grotto in St. Joseph, WI.

This grotto was the inspiration for the Dickeyville Grotto, and subsequently the Wegner Grotto. For more, see these websites: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

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