Friday, May 7, 2010

Three priests and a Sister are honored in the US National Statuary Hall?

Immediately south of the Rotunda in the United States Capitol is the National Statuary Hall, where each of the 50 states gets to honor and immortalize two famous people with a larger-than-life sized statue. But did you know three four states have honored a Catholic priest?(Apparently these states don’t buy the ACLU’s argument that you establish a state religion simply because you decide to honor a clergy member.) So can you name any of the four priests honored in the National Statuary Hall? The answers are after the jump.

Wisconsin honors the missionary priest Father Jacques Marquette, a French Jesuit missionary priest who brought the teachings of Jesus to Native Americans living in what we now call Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota.

Blessed Junipero Serra was another great priest who established missions up and down California. His first mission was established in 1769 in what we now call San Diego. Father Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988.

Fr. Eusebio Kino SJ was born on August 10, 1645, in Segno, Italy. He became a missionary to Mexico. Fr. Kino built missions extending from Sonora 150 miles northeast to San Xavier del Bac, a building which still stands outside of Tucson. He built 19 rancheras, which supplied cattle to new settlements. He was also instrumental in the return of the Jesuits to California in 1697. Father Kino remained in southern Arizona until his death in 1711. [***Special thanks to our reader Mark for reminding us of the Fr. Kino statue.]

Saint Damien of Molokai was born Joseph de Veuster in Belgium in 1840. The Kingdom of Hawaii placed lepers on the island of Molokai. Father Damien ministered to the lepers for 16 years before eventually contracting the disease himself. His statue depicts the scars that the disease caused on his face. Last October, Pope Benedict XVI canonized Father Damien, making him the first Catholic saint to be honored with a statue in our United States Capitol.

This upcoming Monday, May 10, is a special day for those who love Saint Damien. It marks the first time we’ll celebrate his feast day as a saint.

Saint Damien, pray for us

We also wanted to note that a Catholic nun is also honored in the National Statuary Hall. A bronze likeness of Mother Joseph rests in the Capitol courtesy of the State of Washington. (Which is ironic, given their state’s Blaine Amendment.) Mother Joseph was born in 1823. She entered the Sisters of Charity of Providence in Montreal. She lead a group of five missionaries to the Pacific Northwest Territories of the United States. She was responsible for the completion of eleven hospitals, seven academies, five Indian schools, and two orphanages throughout an area that today encompasses Washington, northern Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.
by CatholicVoteAction on May 5th, 2010
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