The Catholic Spirit | Susan Klemond | March 13, 2020

John and Natalie Sonnen have seen many Catholic shrines, but when the St. Paul couple visited the Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption in northern Iowa on their way home from a convention last September, they were particularly impressed.

“It was something I was not expecting at all,” said Natalie Sonnen, referring to the series of nine man-made grottoes encrusted with precious and semiprecious stones from around the world chronicling Christ’s life. “It was really stunning and completely original.”

“It’s little pieces of the whole planet,” John Sonnen said. “There is a theme: It’s redemption and beauty, but also nature. That’s what makes it such a unique sacred space.”