Ave Maria Arrives

It was perfect timing.† She arrived at the St. Victoria Catholic Church in May, Maryís month.† Lewiston Monuments first lifted the granite base into position onto the cement foundation that had been previously prepared, and then lifted the Ave Maria and set her in place.† It was 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 20th.

Our brand new granddaughter, Mia Marie Orsen, also arrived home that day from the hospital, bearing a most similar name.

Besides that, May 20th is the wedding anniversary of my parents, Joe and Betty Claeys of Ghent, MN.

In other words, it was perfect timing.

Teresa Winslow of Winslow Monuments kept an eye of the work of the crew she hired from Lewiston.

I was taking care of little Sophia while her mommy and daddy were bringing her baby sister home.

To record a little bit more of the timing and history of the Ave Maria, she was conceived in 2007, the year that marked the 150th anniversary of the St. Victoria Catholic Church.

I thought it was a perfect way to honor the parish that Allan and I joined when we moved to Victoria nearly four decades ago.

Itís the parish where our children received the sacraments, and which continues to be a center of our life.

Yes, itís our mattress, the one we left in Lewiston with the Ave Maria back on April 11th.

When I presented the idea of a life-size bronze sculpture of the Madonna and Child for an outdoor location at St. Victoria to a church committee three years ago, the Bavarian aspect weighed prominently.

I had chosen the Bavarian Madonna because I loved it from the beginning and had given our daughter a similar 18-inch statue upon the birth of our first grandchild in 2003.

It also seemed more than a coincidence that Victoria is a community with Bavarian roots.

In addition to that, our first trip to Europe, in 1991, was to visit our daughter who was studying in Munich that semester.

Together we had visited the castles and drove through the Black Forest of Bavaria.

That the roots of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, are Bavarian is also significant to me.

As time progressed, I began to see this project in another light.

I came to see this Madonnaís new and lovely face and expression.

I didnít, and I donít, have adequate vocabulary to describe what the artists did for us.

And Iím including here the invisible Hand of God.

But thereís a haunting melody that comes to mind when I see her and it only has two words.

I heard it and sang it in procession, by candlelight and moonlight, with Father Bob and others at Fatima and Lourdes in 2006.


We donít sing ďAve Mariaí that way here at St. Victoria ...

Ö but it lingers with me and thatís how she got her name.