This statue, which was donated many years ago by Marie Widar Lerouge, has been in storage since a fire in 1990. (Contributed photo)

This statue, which was donated many years ago by Marie Widar Lerouge, has been in storage since a fire in 1990. (Contributed photo)

Red Deer Museum repatriates statue to Sacred Heart Church

A religious statue that has been in storage for more than 30 years has new life.

The Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery recently repatriated a life-size Pieta statue to Sacred Heart Catholic Church. The statue, which was donated many years ago by Marie Widar Lerouge, has been in storage since a fire at the church in 1990.

The statue features Mary holding Jesus’ body across her lap after his crucifixion. The Pieta is the name for that type of sculpture, first created by Michelangelo in 1498.

Members of the church recently requested its return because under certain circumstances church items or Indigenous artifacts can be repatriated.

The statue had some broken areas and crumbling paint on Jesus’ sash, so the church approached Lois Caron and asked her to refurbish the statue.

Caron has worked on about 50 other statues, including the statue of Mary that is displayed at the alter at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. That statue was originally in the Immaculate Conception Convent that ran in Edmonton from 1896 to 1950. It needed a lot of work when it came out of storage in Edmonton in the Diocese, Caron explained.

She also refurbished another smaller Pieta statue for Father Henri Voisin School when it opened in 2014.

“I love to hear the family histories of the statues and I love working on them,” said Caron.

“I sometimes play the Rosary when I work on them. I respect all the statues as holy relics, so I’ve never charged for my work.”

Caron first started her hobby in 2005, when she volunteered to help her sister and brother-in-law fix up a nearly three-foot tall statue of Mary from a closed church in Cabana, Sask. Caron’s family later gave her the statue and it remains in her home.

To see more of Caron’s work, visit www.sacredstatues.com.



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