Our Lady of Guadalupe statue lost in hurricane, recovered 10 years later by another

OLOG monterrey restore A statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe being restored after it was buried in the Santa Catarina River for ten years. | Archdioese of Monterrey

When Hurricane Alex roared through the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon in 2010, the wind tore a metal sculpture of Our Lady of Guadalupe from its base in the city of Monterrey, and flung the statue into the Santa Catarina River. 

An unsuccessful attempt was made to retrieve the image but it had become buried too far under the riverbed, and local authorities replaced it with a replica.

But then another hurricane came through the state.

In July, Hurricane Hanna tore through the area where Hurricane Alex had been ten years ago. And Hurricane Hanna's winds and flooding reshaped the Santa Catarina's riverbed. When it did, the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe was partially exposed in the river.

A local bricklayer, Esteban Ramírez, found the statue while he was looking for scrap metal in the rocky riverbed.

The statue, nearly 42 feet high and weighing ten tons, was retrieved from the riverbed. Work began to restore it.

The Archdiocese of Monterrey reported October 1 that restoration work on the image is progressing. 

"In a few days the structural part of the image will be ready," the archdiocese said in a statement.

The statue was originally placed in Monterrey in 1990, amid preparations for a visit to the city from Pope St. John Paul II. The pope blessed the statue during his visit.

A construction company is working on the renovation of the statue and paying for expenses. When the work is almost complete, the statue will be placed at Our Lady, Queen of Mexico Parish in the city.

One part of the statue's metal framing will not be restored. Officials hope the unadorned pieces of the statue tell the story of its ten years in a riverbed, and the Providence of God.

The rediscovery of the image in July this year was a sign of hope to Catholics during the coronavirus pandemic, that Our Lady always accompanies them in their trials, the Monterrey archdiocese said. 

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