Rome, Italy, Apr 21, 2010 / 14:16 pm
After the general audience on Wednesday morning at the Vatican, the Holy Father blessed what remains of a statue that partially survived the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki. Rome is just the first stop on an international "peace pilgrimage" by the Archbishop of Nagasaki and the "Bombed Maria," which will arrive at the U.N. in time for the start of nuclear non-proliferation talks in May.
There is little left of the once six-foot tall statue of Mary from the Urakami Cathedral of Nagasaki, just the a hollow looking visage still in one piece from the neck up. Half bleached white and half charcoal black, all that remained of the statue after the Aug. 9, 1945 atomic explosion was the head.
She is known as "Bombed Maria" locally.
According to an article published online by the archdiocese in February, Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami is on his way to unite the Italian-made statue with the remains of another statue of Mary that survived the bombing of the northern Spanish city Guernica on April 26, 1937.