Ave Maria Grotto, Cullman, Alabama

from a postcard
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In 1892 Joseph Zoetl left Bavaria to enroll as a student at the new St. Bernard's Abbey in Cullman, Alabama. While helping build the campus, he injured his spine. Little Jerusalem
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After taking vows in 1910, Bro. Joe worked in the Abbey power house shoveling coal. He began making miniature buildings for the gardens.
wpe15.gif (63501 bytes) In the 1920s, when the garden grew too full of replicas and visitors, Bro. Joe turned to making small plaster shrines for private devotion instead. Main grotto interior
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Relocated to a hillside further from the Abbey, Bro. Joe's replicas surrounded his large Ave Maria Grotto when it opened to the public in 1934. 
Tower of Babelc-babel.jpg (93085 bytes) Bro. Joe continued working in the power house and adding to the landscape for decades. He died in 1961 at 82. To get there 

The Abbey is SE of Cullman & the junction of US Rts. 31 & 278.

From I-65 take exit 308 & go 4 miles east.

 

Open daily
7 am to dusk.

Closed Christmas.

 Admission charged.

See also http://www.avemariagrotto.com/

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly