A Grotto Near Lake Itasca

There is a most pleasant surprise stop on your way to nearby Lake Itasca’s source of the Mississippi! It is a grotto featuring 2 life-size statues of Our Lady of Lourdes and Bernadette at the Grotto – and 14 stations of the cross. Be refreshed in mind & spirit.

A “grotto” is a natural or artificial cave. In this case, the latter.

In 1959, after a trip to Our Lady of Lourdes in France, then pastor, Father Joseph Moylan, was inspired to build a replica. The church community pitched right in. Master stonemason, Larry Johnson, among whose many other works is the stunning fireplace in the Great Hall at Grand Portage National Monument, was awarded the commission.

It features two life-size statues of Our Lady of Lourdes, and Bernadette at the Grotto, both made of the same type of white Carrara Marble used by Michelangelo for his Pietà.

The fourteen Stations of the Cross are also part of the Two Inlets Grotto. Each is of smaller scale marble figurines enclosed in matching stonework. Each is shown in their web site. In 1981, a long Rosary Shrine, which surrounds the area, was added.

All this, along with the refreshing scent of pines in the breeze, makes it a truly remarkable stop on your trip to points beyond.

by Doug Rosenquist, Retired Tour Guide, Twin Cities Tours