Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 27, 2009
Knights give a weeping Rachel
Poignant statue underlines the sanctity of a baby's life
This bronze statue of a weeping Rachel portrays Knights of Columbus belief in the sanctity of life.
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
CALGARY — To mark its 50th anniversary, Archbishop Monahan Council of the Knights of Columbus in Calgary will erect a statue of Rachel weeping for her children at St. Cecilia Church.
“This bronze of Rachel should be in place as long as our church stands,” Knights leader Daniel Barth said in a recent report. “This is our 50th anniversary gift to all the people to enable them to appreciate the meaning of the sanctity of life.”
Construction and preparation of the grounds to plant the statue may begin in mid-May once the ground is frost-free.
HER SILENT GIFT
The bronze sculpture of Rachel weeping for her children is only an interpretation of the biblical text — Jeremiah 31.15-17 Rachel’s silent gift.
“Yet we as knights set this on our church grounds as a constant reminder to all as to where the Knights of Columbus stand on the issue of life and its consequences and the preservation of the family,” Grand Knight Mike Driscoll said in a report.
“Hopefully our Rachel, kneeling in prayer, cradling an empty blanket will reflect a society bereaved of its children, yet a society looking to God for healing and redemption. The rose at Rachel’s side is the sign of her confidence and hope for her future.”
A desire to leave a lasting spiritual legacy for the parishioners of St. Cecilia led Archbishop Monahan Council to purchase the statue of Rachel, Barth said.
After seeing a picture of Rachel in the Columbia magazine “we decided that this was the image we want to convey to our parishioners.”
They contacted the sculptress, Sondra Jonson, and ordered the seventh of the 12 sculptures she had produced.
At selection time, Jonson made clear her preference for the sketch of Rachel weeping for her children.
In it, Rachel seems to say, “Here is the blanket in which my child should have nestled against me,” Jonson said. “It is empty; my sorrow is beyond words and God alone is my help now. My prayer is not just for myself, but for all people that may realize the gift of life and never willingly destroy it that God may heal and help us all.”
The bronze will be placed on a 32-inch pedestal on a concrete pad on the southwest grassed area of he church grounds.
The pad itself, which is eight by 12 feet, will have a cross engraved in it, which would then serve as the cross for the beginning of a rosary pathway. This pathway will encircle several trees on the grounds and return to complete the rosary.
Exposed concrete stones, protected with three coats of concrete acrylic sealer, 18 inches in diameter, will be used for the Hail Marys. The Glory Be stones have a cross etched on them to set them apart.
On the concrete pad, one or two outdoor benches will be placed so that visitors have a place to sit and pray or meditate. The concrete pathway will be embedded in a layer of shale four inches deep and 48 inches wide.
On the pedestal holding Rachel will be a bronze etching of the words of Jeremiah 31.15-17. Another pedestal, free standing at the side, will contain the words of Past Supreme Knight Virgil Dechant delivered at the Supreme Convention in New York in 1992, regarding the Knights of Columbus stand on the gift of life.
On the third pedestal a plaque will dedicate the sculpture and will note the three major contributors — Archbishop Monahan Council 4878, Father Doucet Assembly and the Alberta Knights of Columbus Charitable Foundation.
It is estimated that the total cost will be between $22,000 and $25,000 of which the council has donated $15,000, Driscoll said. The dedication date is set to take place Sunday, Aug. 23 after the 11 a.m. Mass.