Canadian Catholic diocese aims to repair defaced Stations of the Cross

sudbury second station One of the stations of the cross at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Sudbury, Ontario. | Sean Marshall/flickr

A Canadian diocese said it will aim to repair six statues whose heads and arms were cut off in an act of vandalism.

The statues were part of a walking Stations of the Cross at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Sudbury, Ontario. Some statues were beheaded, while the legs of one statue were partially cut through. The heads were not found in proximity to the statues.

The vandalism is not part of the recent spate of incidents in which statues have been toppled amid protests in cities across the U.S., including two statues of St. Junipero Serra that were toppled in California cities.

David Sirios, an administrator at the Sault Ste. Marie diocese, told the Sudbury Star that the vandalism took place May 22, and was reported to the police then, but that the matter has only become public recently because police initially wanted to explore leads.

Protests in the U.S. began May 25, after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer.

In Sudbury, no suspects have been identified, according to local media, and the investigation has reached a standstill.

Sirios told the Sudbury Star that the diocese has begun working with a sculptor to develop a cost estimate for repair.

"We're looking at different artists who could maybe re-sculpt the missing pieces, and then re-braze them onto the current statues," Sirios said. "If that's not possible, we would basically have to re-pour six new statues."

The Stations of the Cross were cast and placed in the early 1950s. The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes was built in 1907 by the region's French Canadian community, and remains a place of pilgrimage and prayer.

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