Virgin Mary statue returns to Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland

July 30, 2022 GMT

EMMITSBURG, Md. (AP) — A 26-foot statue of the Virgin Mary is back in place at a Catholic university in Maryland.

The Frederick News-Post reports that the statue has been put back in place atop a 78-foot pedestal at the National Shrine Grotto on the campus of Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg after a year of restoration work.

That work continues even as the statue is back in place, surrounded by scaffolding. Workers are now in the process of layering gold leaf to statue’s exterior.

The university has raised $400,000 to support the restoration; about $450,000 more is needed.

The statue is expected to be completed next month, with a formal ceremony planned for October.

The grotto draws about 300,000 visitors a year; it is a replica of the grotto in Lourdes, France, that draws pilgrims to a site where believers say the Virgin Mary appeared in the 19th century.