Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa was built stone by stone by Father Paul Matthias Dobberstein starting in 1912, with the help of Matt Szerensce over the span of 52 years. As a young seminarian, Dobberstein had become gravely ill with pneumonia. He promised to the Holy Mother that if he survived, he would erect a shrine in her honor.
Over 10 years, he collected minerals and precious and semi-precious stones, petrified wood, malachite, azurite, agates, geodes, jasper, quartz, topaz, calcite, stalactites, stalagmites and more. Purchased and donated materials helped create the final grotto.
The site is an inspiration behind artist Becca Kacanda’s practice and the virtual art workshop she leads with us on Tuesday, June 8, 7pm. To register to make your own grotto-inspired piece, visit https://www.avam.org/event-details/virtual-face-vessel-workshop-with-rotto-grotto
Photos: Carl Wycoff and Alejandro Palido