SPOKANE, Wash. - Just before Halloween 2009, vandals made their way up a hill overlooking Northeast Spokane to the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto at Mt. St. Michael's Catholic Church, and damaged the church's beloved statue of Mary. It wasn't the first time the grotto's statue had been vandalized, but it was the first time the vandals took a piece of her with them. "There seemed to be little more intent this time. You know, they wanted to take the head with them. And so we didn't know what happened to it, didn't know where to look other than just scouring the bushes," the Rev. Casimir Puskorius, pastor of Mount St. Michael told KHQ Local News.
The beheaded statue was stored away in the church, replaced by a shorter one donated by parishioners. The head of the original statue was thought to be lost forever, until a Spokane couple cleaned out their vacant rental property and discovered a hidden statue head.
The property owners reached out to parish Secretary Anne Marie Netzel who told KHQ, "I think miraculously they were led to our website. She called, I had her text me some pictures of the head of the statue, not knowing. I showed them to Father, and we confirmed that we felt it was the head of our statue."
It's a happy ending for all involved, especially the statue whose head was reattached June 22 by a Rathdrum parishioner. The half ton statue of Italian marble was sculpted in France and has stood watch over the grotto since 1920. Puskorius hopes once she is put back, she can stay for good.
"It's an answer to prayer and we're just very glad that we got it back."