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140-year-old statue stolen from convent

140-year-old statue stolen from convent

June 23, 2010 8:04 PM Ildefonso Ortiz The Brownsville Herald GOT A TIP? Anyone with information about the theft of the statue is asked to call Brownsville Police Crime Stoppers at (956) 546-8477. BROWNSVILLE —

Two lit candles remain inside an orange brick grotto where the sisters of Incarnate Word kept a 140-year-old statue of the Lady of Lourdes, which mysteriously vanished sometime between Monday night and Tuesday afternoon. The convent’s gardener, Guadalupe Cavazos, reported that the statue was missing from the convent-school on the 200 block of Resaca Boulevard, said Sister Evelyn Morales. “He was watering a small plant near the grotto and found a small rosary on the floor,” she said. “When he looked up, he noticed the statue was missing. It’s almost as if our Blessed Mother was telling him, ‘Hey, look over here: I’m gone.’” Brownsville police are asking the public for any information regarding the statue’s whereabouts or the identity of the burglar, said police spokesman Lt. Orlando Rodriguez. The 2-foot-tall, white-and-blue statue depicts the Virgin Mary looking up to the sky with her hands clasped in prayer and has a reported value of $25,000. It was broken off its metal and cement base inside the grotto, according to the police report. “I don’t know what kind of value this may have to others, but to us this is priceless,” said Sister Vianney Uyeno, who is in charge of the convent.

The grotto and the statue have been open to the public since 1926, Uyeno said. Many faithful Catholics in the community regularly visit the grotto in the morning to pray. “I sure hope that whoever took it repents and brings it back,” Uyeno said of the statue. “At this point we just want our statue back, no questions asked.” Mother Superior Teresa Solis placed the statue in the grotto, which was built at the order’s old convent on the corner of St. Charles and Eighth streets in 1870. The grotto, which was moved to its current location in 1969, was built using petrified wood from Roma and stones from various European grottos and from the grave of Saint Teresa of Avila, said Uyeno.

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