Jasper, IN 47546
Geode Grotto of Father Sztuczko
The Geode Grotto was built in the 1960s under the direction of Father Philip Ottavi. His design was based on the Grotto of Lourdes, France. It is reported that when someone commented on the grotto not looking exactly like the original, a construction worker replied that “there were no blueprints, only inspiration.” When you walk through the Grotto, starting at the entrance in the back of St. Joseph Cemetery, you can follow the stations of the cross. Look for the light switch (low, on a timer, to the left of Mary) in Mary’s Grotto, the main attraction.
In 2017 St. Mary’s local hospital purchased half of the Grotto grounds. They are working to preserve the grotto by moving the structures to the other half of the lot.[Sal, 11/26/2017]
For ten years Father Phillip Ottavi, assisted by helpful neighbors, built a grotto that covered several acres, using mostly geodes that were found in a nearby creek. Set into cement, the spongy brown orbs were used in everything from benches to birdbaths. Twin shrines to Mary and St. Joseph, the patron saint of the “home for retarded men” managed by Father Phillip, form the grotto’s centerpiece.
The grotto, among the more recent of these rocky devotionals, was completed in 1970.