A Little Time and a Keyboard: Fascinating Grotto Tucked Along a Creek in Gunnar Anderson Forest Preserve in Geneva, IL

Fascinating Grotto Tucked Along a Creek in Gunnar Anderson Forest Preserve in Geneva, IL

Sunday, January 30, 2022

 

The Sacred Heart Seminary Shrine, also known as the Geneva Grotto, sits perched on a little knoll along a creek within Gunnar Anderson Forest Preserve. Geneva Grotto fascinates as a little reminder of history in a tranquil and picturesque setting. A jaunt out to visit the grotto provided such a wonderful moment of peace and discovery for us on a winter's day.

Sacred Heart Seminary Shrine reflects upon the history of the seminary in Geneva, Illinois.
Sacred Heart Seminary Shrine reflects upon the history of the seminary in Geneva, Illinois.

I long had Geneva Grotto on my bucket list of places to visit in the Chicago suburbs. Finally, the perfect afternoon presented itself and we headed to this little spot to admire this tucked away piece of history.

Stones and glass meld together forging a stunning sanctuary at Geneva Grotto.
Stones and glass meld together forging a stunning sanctuary.

The Geneva Grotto has suffered from the forces of nature as well as vandalism over the years. Fortunately, a restoration effort is currently underway.  A local Knights of Columbus Chapter and 600 volunteers began restoration efforts in August 2020.  Wandering the location and admiring the beautiful mosaics at the grotto lend appreciation for the restoration efforts. We are so fortunate that community members have come together to take care of this remarkable piece of history.

Beautiful mosaic work featuring a blending of stone and glass.
Beautifully intricate mosaic work featuring a blending of stone and glass.

Sacred Heart Seminary trained priests at this site from the middle of the 1920s until 1971. A German Jesuit priest is credited with constructing the striking grotto. Now, the property is part of Gunnar Anderson Forest Preserve and sits just footsteps away from the Kane County Government Center. Now, the Grotto is a place to enjoy a bit of calm within this busy world. The site also has been a spot to remember those lost and to leave a remembrance. 

A stream bubbles adjacent to Geneva Grotto.
A stream bubbles adjacent to Geneva Grotto.

The grotto rests near a stream. The Fox River glides past the preserve not too far from the grotto. We could hear geese on the river while exploring the grotto. Really, a lovely spot and one that I would like to visit again to take in more of the natural surroundings while admiring this piece of art and solemnity. 


Fascinating Grotto Tucked Along a Creek in Gunnar Anderson Forest Preserve in Geneva, IL

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