Monday, July 16, 2018

Ava Maria Grotto

After living for 34 years in NoAla, we decided it was time to make a visit to Ava Maria Grotto in Cullman, AL.   We have seen the signs for it on Interstate 65 and we saw a program on Public TV about the Grotto and Brother Joseph Zoettl who labored on this masterpiece for a good portion of his life. We always say,"We need to go there." and we never did follow through. So on Thursday the 12th of July we headed the 30 minutes south to the grounds of St Bernard Abbey.

A lovely welcome center greets visitors to the Grotto. Senior admission was $6.  There is a gift shop and book store located in this building.

First you journey to Bethlehem.

Brother Jospeh used very humble items to build his images. Lots of concrete, shells and bits and baubles that people from all over the world sent for his use. This monastery has been in NoAla since 1891. The Benedictines came to Cullman to minister to the Catholic German Immigrants that made their home in Cullman. The School is still going strong and the grounds are just lovely. I told Marvin that I would not mind going to school at St Bernard's.

A replica of Brother Joseph's home church in Bavaria.

This is a life size statue of Brother Joseph. He was a tiny little man who struggled with health issues most of his life but he lived to be 81 years old. His work at St Bernard's was made a Shrine in 1934.

A replica of the Catholic church in Mobile, Alabama.

Rome as Brother Joseph saw it.

And Jerusalem...

It was rather hard to get this in one picture.  The temple is at the fore front.

The famous Grotto...Inside you will find the Virgin Mary, St Benedict and St Scholastica.

This small area was built to remember the young men from St Bernards who lost their lives in WW2, Korean Conflict and Vietnam.

Here is the Abbey Church reflected in the pond. The grounds were just beautiful and we were assured it was permissible to drive through the property.

We came home with some Monk's Bread, Marmalade and Mystic Monk Vespers Coffee. We have already tried the bread and it is tasty.

It was a nice day trip for us and we can mark Ava Maria Grotto off our bucket list.


Ramblings of a Retired Lady said...

Your post brought back sweet memories this morning. I visited the Grotto several years ago and was amazed at the intricate work done there. Thanks for sharing your pictures and bringing back those memories. Glad you got to visit as well.

Mary said...

Interesting day trip and so close to home. The repro buildings remind me of railroad hobbyists scenery. Hope the Marmalade tastes as good as it looks, so hard to find good orange marmalade.

Susie said...

Arlene, This seems so very interesting. I would love to see this myself. I like the idea of buying the food products from there. Blessings to you, xoxo, Susie
p.s. My big brother lives in Ala.

Miss Dishywoo said...

What an amazing place. Glad you finally got there and thanks for showing us. So interesting.

Robin in Virginia said...

What a lovely adventure you had visiting the Ava Maria Grotto, Arlene! Thank you for sharing the photos of your day trip.

Terri D said...

We have a Grotto about 40 miles away at the St. Leo Abbey. We haven't visited it in several years but now I want to go back. It is not like your Ava Maria Gotto, in any way, but rather just offers a quiet, beautiful place to meditate and pray. Lovely. I'm sure that bread is delicious!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

How beautiful and amazing that is! I've never heard of it but now I would love to visit too. Love the goodies you came home with...especially the coffee!

RJ said...

This is such a beautiful place to visit. I know I would enjoy it very much. We recently had a Monk speak at our church and he told us all about his bread making which was very interesting. You take the most interesting trips. Have a lovely week Arlene. RJ

sharon said...

We love to visit here and usually walk through during the Blooming Festival held there. We order the monk bread a dozen loafs at a time. It freezes really well and makes the best toast!

Mari said...

This looks like such a neat place to visit. The work he did is amazing, and the grounds are beautiful!

Jazzmin said...

Delighting this evening in the enjoyment of your blog (not only this post, but catching up on your Grimmwood visit and the beauty there, as well as the sunflowers!)♥ This amazing place looks fascinating. I loved reading about the artist and seeing his works and vision so beautifully captured in your photos. That is so neat that it isn't too far from you and made for a nice visit. The grounds look like a truly relaxing place to walk through... so picturesque.
The goodies you brought home all look delicious, too.

Blessings to you and wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

Carol said...

What a fascinating place! It looks like you had a lovely day to visit, too. Oh, I love Monks' Bread--haven't had it since I was much younger--enjoy :)