Peter and Maria Hunzinger were Romanians who had been taken prisoner
during Word War II. Together they made a promise to the Blessed Virgin Mary that, if they escaped from
Europe and got to the United States safely, they would build a shrine to Mary. After living through the
war and chaos in Europe, Peter and Maria came to Wauseon, Ohio on April 13, 1950. Maria's stepmother
lived in this town and thus they chose this area. Immediately, Peter and Maria got jobs, learned English
and became active in St. Caspar's Parish.
In the winter of 1963, the Parish decided to buy land to build a new church on 40 acres of land. Peter
notes: "I went to see it with great curiosity. And, I made a small grotto on the southeast corner of the
property. This was my first 'thanks' to Mary. By July, I could walk into the woods on the back of the land.
This became the turning point of my life." The pastor, Fr. O'Grady, told Peter that he could have excess
stones from the church building project and he could have the land he needed in the woods for his shrine.
"Indeed it would be very hard and difficult work to clear the land and to build the shrine: but I never gave
this the slightest thought."
Volunteers from the parish joined in the project, clearing the brush and building the first grotto. At that
time the statuions were hung on the trees. Every year things continued to be improved. To pay expenses,
Maria baked bread, noodles and cookies to sell. Peter improved the area every year until he had the
grotto beautifully completed.
To this day, St. Terese Rosary/Alter Society Circle maintains this beautiful shrine. Flowers are planted
annually. About nine people mow, trim and weed, water and rake the area. Money for maintenance
is raised in many ways. It is very gratifying that many visitors find this shrine a place of prayer and