The statue of Saint Joseph that has resided for nearly 70 years at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse in Pembroke has found a new and very appropriate home.
“It was donated to the Motherhouse when it was rebuilt in 1953,” recalls Sister Pauline Coulterman.
Jason Dedo, Chaplaincy Leader at St. Joseph’s High School in Renfrew, and the Sisters of St. Joseph were among those concerned about the fate of the statue once the Motherhouse was sold.
When the sale took place at the end of January 2020, the Sisters got in touch to say they wished to donate the statue to the school.
The ties between the Sisters of St. Joseph and the town of Renfrew go back a long way.
Renfrew was a mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph—they had an orphanage there and established the St. Joseph Academy, now known as St. Joseph High School, in 1928.
“The town of Renfrew had great meaning in the lives of many of our sisters as well as the school itself. It is very meaningful to donate the statue there,” says Sister Coulterman. “We’re happy that the high school was glad to receive it.”
The statue arrived at SJHS on October 13, 2020. It had been cleaned and stored for the last several months by Campbell Monument in Pembroke. They also had a hand in preparing the base for it and coordinated delivery to the school.
“It’s a wonderful religious article and especially meaningful when it is coming from the Sisters who founded the school. It’s very profound to be gifted with the statue,” comments Dedo.
Derek Lennox, Principal of SJHS, says they plan to have a blessing of the statue, probably in the spring.
“It’s important to remember our history,” says Lennox, adding that “the statue is a great reminder of the importance of the past and the challenges that were faced to have the school we have today.”
For Dedo, the story is not over as he plans to look further into the historical background of the statue portraying the patron saint of the school.