Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption

Grotto of the Redemption, 300 N Broadway Ave, West Bend, Iowa, Združene države Amerike

Website of the Sanctuary

515-887-2371

Opening times Grotto – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

History of the West Bend Grotto of the Redemption 

The story of how the Grotto came into being is as moving as are the scenes it portrays. It is generally told as a fact that as a young seminarian, Father Dobberstein became critically ill with pneumonia.

As he fought for his life he prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary (the Mother of God) to intercede for him for the grace of health. He promised to build a shrine in her honor of he lived.

The illness passed, the student completed his studies and after his ordination he came to West Bend as Pastor in 1898. For over a decade he was stockpiling rocks and precious stones.

The actual work of giving permanence to his promise began to take shape in 1912. The designed purpose of the Grotto is to tell in silent stone made spiritually eloquent, the story of man’s fall and his redemption by Christ, the savior of the world.

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The purpose of the West Bend grotto of the redemption

In outlining the purpose of the grotto of the redemption the intention has been deliberate to preserve as far as possible the thought and expression of Father Dobberstein.

His first and only account of the Grotto is undated but it is thought to have appeared around the year 1936. From the time that the structure began to attract attention it was always called “The Grotto of the Redemption”.

Those who have travelled in parts of Europe are familiar with the religious atmosphere of grottos. Grotto differs from caves only in this that the openings near the surface of a vertical barrier are referred to as grottos. Cave or caverns may extend for miles under the surface and may or may not be high enough for a person to walk into comfortably.

The builder of the Grotto hopes, by visualizing in stone the fundamentals of the Christian religion, to induce the visitors here, to be not only the idle hearers but also to contemplative thinkers and courageous doers of the word of Christ.

The heart of man is usually more quickly reached through the eye than through the ear. The builder was confident that the finished project would speak for itself. Thus he was animated by the spirit of the psalm, “I shall be satisfied when Thy Glory cometh”.

The Grotto Museum

The Grotto Museum includes a large display of precious and semiprecious stones from throughout the world. Early pictures and news articles have been reproduced for your viewing. The Museum also includes tools used by Father Dobberstein in the construction of the Grotto. A documentary video of the Grotto can be viewed during museum hours.

Weekday:

  • Monday-wednesday-friday: 8 am at Ss. Peter and Paul, West Bend
  • Tuesday-Thursday: 8 am at St. Mary, Mallard

Saturday:

  • 5 pm at Ss. Peter and Paul, West Bend

Sunday:

  • 8 am at St. Mary, Mallard
  • 10 am at Ss. Peter and Paul, West Bend

History of the West Bend Grotto

The story of how the Grotto came into being is as moving as are the scenes it portrays. It is generally told as a fact that as a young seminarian, Father Dobberstein became critically ill with pneumonia. As he fought for his life he prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary (the Mother of God) to intercede for him for the grace of health. He promised to build a shrine in her honor of he lived.

The illness passed, the student completed his studies and after his ordination he came to West Bend as Pastor in 1898. For over a decade he was stockpiling rocks and precious stones. The actual work of giving permanence to his promise began to take shape in 1912. The designed purpose of the Grotto is to tell in silent stone made spiritually eloquent, the story of man’s fall and his redemption by Christ, the savior of the world.

Father Paul Matthias Dobberstein

Father Paul Matthias Dobberstein was born in Rosenfeld, Germany on September 21, 1872. He received part of his early education at the University of Deitsche-Krone in Germany. When Paul was 20 years old he immigrated to America. On coming to America he entered the Seminary of St. Francis near Milwaukee to prepare for the Priesthood.

It was there that he began to show signs of unusual artistic ability that was to characterize all the waking hours of his earthly existence. He completed his studies for the Priesthood at St. Francis Seminary and was ordained there on June 30th, 1897. For one year he served as chaplain for the Sisters of Mount Carmel hospital in Dubuque.

Then when the Archdiocese of Dubuque was divided and Sioux City jurisdiction was formed he was appointed the pastor of West Bend Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church and remained there in that capacity for the rest of his life. During fifty-seven years he was counselor, instructor, and leader to the parishioners of St. Peter and Paul’s.

Posted in North America and United States