“I don’t believe he really knew the impact his work would have when he started.” Grotto BROTHER MARION SANCHEZ A statue of Grotto creator Brother Joseph on the grounds. AMANDA SHAVERS Ave Maria Grotto Open 7 days per week, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 125 miniature creations of buildings associated with Christian faith Gift shop on the grounds Where: St. Bernard Abbey 1600 St. Bernard Drive, Cullman Information: avemariagrotto.com 28 Cullman magazine | SUMMER 2019 Grotto. Nestled along four acres in an old rock quarry on the abbey grounds, the Grotto is a series of paths that lead to the miniature creations of Brother Joseph. Great cathe- drals from around the world and scenes from Christian history are all there, in miniature. “He worked mainly from stone and concrete, but you see things like broken china, tiles, sea shells, or even a bird cage or toilet bowl floater worked into the de- tails,” Sanchez said. Brother Joseph added the last miniature in 1958, three years before his death. For 46 years, he created the replicas from read- ing, photographs, but only having seen six of the actual structures in his lifetime.