Vandalization at Mother Cabrini shrine in Colorado causes frustration, grief

By Marianne Medlin, Staff Writer

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The Mother Cabrini statue damaged by vandals

A spokesperson from the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, Colo. said the local community is frustrated and grief-stricken over the shrine being vandalized the night of Nov. 14.

Jeff Lewis, administrator at the Mother Cabrini Shrine, reported that four statues were damaged Nov. 14 in an attack that has offered no possible suspects or motivations.

“Our maintenance guys found the broken statues on Monday morning, Nov. 15,” he told EWTN News  via e-mail. “I closed the gate the night before, making sure everyone was off the property before the gate closed, and everything looked fine.”

It was discovered the next morning that a three-foot tall statue of St. Bernadette was knocked off its pedestal and broken in half, a three-foot statue of Our Lady of Grace was found toppled over with its head broken off, and a five-foot statue of Mother Cabrini had its “face smashed in,” Lewis recounted on Nov. 22.

He also said a large crucifix at the bottom of the Shrine's Stairway of Prayer was damaged, with a broken face and toes. Someone “must have beaten” it “with force,” he said.

Lewis added that the barbed wire that surrounds the nine-foot high chain-linked fence around the Shrine was bent down but there are no clues as to who committed the vandalism or why.

“No leads or suspected motives,” he said, although the local Jefferson County Sheriff's Department in Golden is working on the case. Local news channels are also asking people to report any information to the Sheriff's office.

When asked for the costs associated with the damage, Lewis said it is “very hard” to give an exact figure.

“The smaller statues are more easily replaceable,” but the “larger statues will be more difficult to fix,” he said, noting that the “crucifix was sculpted in the 1950s and the Mother Cabrini statue was made in the mid 1960s.”

Lewis said that damage on this scale hasn't occurred at the Shrine “since the 1960's when a similar Mother Cabrini statue in the same grotto chapel was removed and thrown out over the balcony rail, shattering it.”

Lewis said that there are plans to increase security measures following the attack.

“We are looking at different options and seeing what kind of donations come in first,” he explained. “Then we will be installing some type of security surveillance system. We do not want this to happen again.”

“It's not easy to look at the Shrine statues,” he said. “This is a very beautiful, holy and sacred place. To see it violated and vandalized, it is difficult for people to comprehend. We share their frustration and grief.”

The administrator added, however, that many people have contacted the Shrine offering donations or volunteer services.

“It's so nice to see how the community has responded so passionately to the Shrine,” he said. “The local news channels, soldiers overseas, people from all over the country are supporting us with prayers and gifts.”

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