On Thursday morning last week, Oct 22, our custodian, Luigi, mentioned to me that the small statue of St. Francis that we have in our gardens was missing. I thought maybe someone had taken it indoors already. We do every Fall. However Luigi also mentioned that the flowering vines growing on the walls of our courtyard had all been ripped down. Again, I figured maybe it was just the cold weather. They probably naturally just fell off the walls.
Well, Saturday morning one of our parishioners discovered that our new statue of Mary had been stolen. I went over to discover that all that was left of Mary was the base of the statue and her feet. The 1.5 metre resin/fibre-glass statue is made in Italy and cost some $5000. I loved it because it was of a young, barefoot Mary. We had her positioned so that young children could meet here and feel close to her. The setting was quite beautiful, a small sheltered niche area in our courtyard.
The police were called and our limited security tapes were examined. We found that there was someone walking around the church several times at about 3:00 am on Friday morning. We don’t have any cameras on the statue, but that’s the only suspicious activity we could see. It’s all be given over to the Police.
Late Saturday night the police recovered a portion of the statue. It had been seen by a parishioner (my dentist) while on a run. The statue was decapitated and the hands cut off. Ugh!! It makes me so sick and so angry. It does not seem like just kids fooling around. It feels like more than that. Considering how accessible our church is and how long our office hours are, I am concerned about the safety of our parishioners, staff and clergy at night. We are looking at increasing our security without decreasing our hospitality!
Anyways…. we move on. The insurance will cover the theft. The statue will be replaced… maybe with real bronze? But the emotional shock is still great. Pray for us and for the person who did this. If only they knew that they are worth more than a million statues. Hopefully our care and concern for our “things” will be a shadow of our care and concern for our neighbours.