Bobby's Bama: Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman

By Bobby Shuttleworth - bio | email

CULLMAN, AL (WAFF) - At the beginning of our journey, we learn quickly that one man's trash is another's treasure.

Brother Kevin McGrath, A St. Bernard's monk is our guide of Brother Joseph's creation.

In Latin, we see "come let us adore." It is the adoration of God that is evident everywhere.

Along the way you will see a replica of St. Peter's shrine. There are also tributes to America with the Statute of Liberty.

There are even fantasy structures involving Hansel and Gretel complete with a dragon.

Even St. Bernard's is here. Blink and you will miss the Cathedral of Mobile, St. Peter's Basilica, and even the Colosseum.

Of course the big draw here, is the Ave Maria Grotto.

"It's 27 feet high, wide and deep. The statues of course are Mary, the mother of God and the infant Jesus and St. Benedict on the left and his twin sister St. Scholastica on the right," explained McGrath.

Our companion, Brother Kevin, spent most of his life has been here at the Abby, first as a student who knew the artist.

"He was a very shy little fellow. He was a little fellow. And a lot of times he would see someone coming and he would sort of duck behind a miniature tree or something," he said.

Brother Kevin was a high school freshman at St. Bernard's when Brother Joseph died in 1961.

He points out "Little Jerusalem", the oldest part of the who grotto.

"That's the 'Fortress of Antonia', the home of the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, at the time of Jesus' death. "

The crucifixion and Jesus' tomb are also depicted here.

"One of the best things really about the grotto is the sense of peace that you can experience, each person experiences that goes through it," said Brother Kevin.

Brother Joseph's life long labor shows he was not stuck in one century or even section of the globe. If it had an effect on him, it's here.

Brother Joseph's bronze statue is relatively new, and about life size. His determination and faith are very familiar to folks in Bobby's Bama.

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