TOUR GUIDE NOTES…
There is a most pleasant surprise stop that would be easy to miss on your way to nearby Lake Itasca’s headwaters of the Mississippi, so make note! Especially, if you are feeling the need for some tranquility.
Nestled within an aromatic grove of pines, adjacent to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Two Inlets (MN) a few short miles north of Park Rapids, is a grotto which will soothe any traveler’s soul.
A “grotto” is a natural or artificial cave. In this case, the latter.
In 1959, after a trip to Our Lady of Lourdes in France, then pastor, Father Joseph Moylan, was inspired to build a replica. The church community pitched right in. Master stonemason, Larry Johnson, among whose many other works is the stunning fireplace in the Great Hall at Grand Portage National Monument, was awarded the commission.
It features two life-size statues of Our Lady of Lourdes, and Bernadette at the Grotto, both made of the same type of white Carrara Marble used by Michelangelo for his Pietà.
The fourteen Stations of the Cross are also part of the Two Inlets Grotto. Each is of smaller scale marble figurines enclosed in matching stonework. Each is shown in their web site. In 1981, a long Rosary Shrine, which surrounds the area, was added.
All this, along with the refreshing scent of pines in the breeze, makes it a truly remarkable stop on your trip to points beyond.