Cullman Magazine Summer 2019 - Page 27

UNIQUELY CULLMAN Creations of Brother Joseph reach new generation B rother Joseph Zoetl was by all accounts a quiet man, but arriving at St. Bernard Abbey in 1892, he brought a creative imagination and skill that in time became admired around the world. A native of Landshut, Bavaria, Brother Joseph entered the monastic life of prayer and study at young age, while also shovel- ing coal in the abbey power house. Perhaps as a form of relaxation and an expression of his faith and readings, he created the first of 125 miniature replicas of notable structures associated with the Christian faith in 1912. Using stone, con- crete and an assortment of materials that were discarded by others, his work soon became known far from the confines of Cullman. “From what we know, in many ways Brother Joseph was very shy. I don’t be- lieve he really knew the impact his work would have when he started,” said Brother Marion Sanchez, director of Ave Maria Brother Joseph Zoetl used an assortment of materials to create the figures and buildings at Ave Maria Grotto. Blooming plants add the appeal of a stroll through the Grotto. SISTER THERESE HAYDEL AMANDA SHAVERS Cullman magazine | SUMMER 2019 27