Rudolph Grotto Gardens and Wonder Cave

Fr. Philip Wagner   |  1882-1959  and Edmund Rybicki  |  1916-1991  |  Rudolph, WI

Grotto  |  Created 1928 through the 1950s


After a thwarted attempt to find Tony’s Fan Fair in Steven’s Point (he passed away and his fan-filled yard had been completely dismantled) , it was time to head off to a place I was sure would be there…the Rudolph Grotto and Wonder Cave.  No disappointment here.


On the grounds of St. Phillips Apostle Church in the Wisconsin River Valley in north central Wisconsin, the Grotto was created by Father Philip Wagner in gratitude to the Virgin Mary for healing him from debilitating exhaustion.  He was inspired by the Grotto of our Lady in Lourdes, France, where he was studying for priesthood, and rejuvenated by the healing waters.  After Fr. Wagner returned to the States, he created a 6-acre grotto of rock, concrete, and glass along meandering paths through beautiful gardens.  Not only are there religious shrines, but also two war memorials.


The most surprising place is the grotto is the Wonder Cave.  Completely built above ground, the 1/5 mile long pathway through this manmade mountain twists and turns with niches filled with biblical scenes and verses punched in tin and backlit.  It is truly incredible.


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