Pennsylvania police are investigating the disappearance of a 1,200 pound bronze angel that was reportedly stolen from the grounds of the National Centre for Padre Pio last week. While officers have continued to search, no concrete leads have been found.
The bronze statue is known to visitors as the "Angel of the Roses" and was originally cast in the 1930s. It was first placed in the Hall of Justice in San Paolo, Brazil before the centre's founder, the late Vera M. Calandra, purchased the statue in 1999 at an auction. Calandra was immediately attracted to the angel because it reminded her of Padre Pio's special relationship with the angels. Additionally, the bronze angel holds five roses - each representing one of the five wounds of Christ that St. Pio bore on his body, known as the stigmata.
The angel greeted visitors to the centre, located in Barto, Pennsylvania. However, on the morning of September 22, maintenance workers found that the four metal bolts that fastened the angel to the base had been broken and the angel, valued at $60,000, was missing.
It’s incredible," said Julia Calandra-Lineberg, whose family founded the Pio center. "I think everyone in my family is in shock. How could anybody just drive up and steal a statute? Especially one of religious significance," she said to the Reading Eagle.
"I couldn’t believe it," she said. "I just kept thinking, No, no, they must be mistaken."
Although the police are continuing to search for the bronze statue, no concrete leads have been found. Area officials have alerted scrap yards asking them to be on the lookout for the statue.
Anyone having information is urged to call the Pennsylvania state police who are heading the investigation or the National Centre for Padre Pio: http://www.padrepio.org/