Fall Tour

Experience the amazing shrine built by a young priest to fulfill a promise made to the Virgin Mary. The Grotto is the largest manmade grotto in the world.

Friday, September 10, 2021
8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Tour starts at the Comfort Inn & Suites, 7007 Grover St, Omaha
$110 per person

Price includes coach transportation, guided tour, hot lunch and gratuities.

Tour reservation deadline August 6, 2021 – payment due by August , 2021

Highlights: The Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption


Today we travel to the small Iowa town of West Bend to tour the Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption. The Grotto is considered the “Eighth Wonder of  the World” and has been described as a “Miracle in Stone.” Each of nine separate grottos portrays a scene in the life of Christ. The Grotto was created to fulfill a promise made to the Blessed Virgin Mary by a critically ill young seminarian named Father Paul Dobberstein. Father Dobberstein promised to build a shrine to her if his health improved. Today the Grotto is largest manmade grotto in the world. It contains the largest collection of precious stones and gems in one location.

The story of how the Grotto came into being is as moving as the scenes it portrays. It is generally told 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 to intercede for him. 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 purpose of the Grotto is to tell in silent stone the story of man’s fall and his redemption by Christ, the savior of the world.

Most architects and contractors would hesitate a long time before undertaking a project such as the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend. It is doubtful whether it can or ever will be duplicated. The sheer bulk of the achievement is startling when we consider that two men did most of the manual labor and Father Dobberstein did practically all of the artistic endeavor singlehanded.

No accounting was made either of the many hours of labor involved in building the Grotto or the money expended in gathering the stones and shaping them into a harmonious unit. This is perhaps because Father Dobberstein wanted the cost to be known to God alone.

We will have two hours to explore the Grotto before we begin our journey back to Omaha. Since our arrival time back in Omaha is 7:00 pm, we will stop at a McDonald’s for a quick dinner.

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