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The Geode Grotto in Jasper, IN fills four city blocks. It was the inspiration of Father Philip Ottavi, the Director of the Providence Home for retarded men. Providence Home is now known as the Cathedral Health Care Center. When some handball courts from were removed, Ottavi decided to build something spiritual on the property. His design was based on the Grotto of Lourdes, France. Geodes were chosen as a primary building material. They are plentiful in south-central Indiana (the Geode Belt) where they have been used in landscaping and homes since the 19th century. They also have religious symbolism. It took Father Philip and a crew of about 10 men from the Home about ten years (from around 1960 to 1970) to build the Grotto.
In addition to the many shrines built within the area, there are fountains, flower planters, benches, lamp-posts, birdbaths, and walls which are all encrusted with geodes. Other materials, such as marble, granite, seashells, rosaries and pictures were also embedded into the planters, posts and sidewalks. The cave-like Mother of God Shrine features a marble statue of Mary and a ceiling with faux stalactites. For more, see this website.
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