The replacements for eight bronze religious statues damaged at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in May 2020 have finally been installed.
The statues, which are in the care of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, depict the Stations of the Cross (the walk of Jesus to the cross and his crucifixion) and were originally installed in 1953.
Vandals broke heads and limbs off of eight of the statues.
The Grotto is considered to be one of Sudbury’s hidden gems. With its panoramic view of the city and 16-foot fountain, many people visit the downtown property to reflect as they walk the peaceful paths.
David Sirois, assistant financial administrator with the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, said the reason behind the vandalism is unknown, but “we think it's probably a financial issue more than anything else,” given the value of the bronze the statues are made from.
Replicas of the bronze statues were crafted by artist Timothy P. Schmalz (of Sculpture by Timothy P. Schmalz Inc.).
Sirois said it was less costly to produce new statues than to try to repair the damaged originals. Patina was applied to the new statues to mimic the look of the originals.
Except for the deductible, the cost to replace the statues was covered by the Diocese’s insurance policy.
The statues have been ready since last fall, but the Diocese waited until the warmer weather had returned for them to be installed.
“We’re happy that it's finally done,” Sirois said. “It's been a long wait for that to happen. We’ve had a few visitors already, and they’re happy to see them being replaced.”
As a result of the incident, the Diocese installed security cameras at the Grotto back in 2020.
If you’d like to support the upkeep of the Grotto, the Diocese is holding a fundraiser for the venue at the Caruso Club on Sept. 29. The fundraiser was originally planned for April 2020, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sirois said tickets will be available shortly at A&J Home Hardware, Old Rock Cafe, P&M’s Kouzzina and Jett Landry Music.
Heidi Ulrichsen is the associate content editor at Sudbury.com. She also covers education and the arts scene.