Our Lady of Lourdes returns to Camden

Our Lady of Lourdes returns to Camden

Photo by Alan M. Dumoff,ccdphotolibrary.smugmug.com

ololstatue-webWorkers return the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes to the top of the medical center in Camden following repairs from the damage caused by the earthquake that struck the East Coast on Aug. 23, 2011.

The Our Lady of Lourdes statue that was taken down from atop Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden in November 2011 for repairs returned to its original space on Tuesday, April 3.

The reinstallation of Our Lady of Lourdes marks exactly five months to the day since crews first took down the top three of six layers of the statue for extensive repairs due to structural damage it sustained in August’s earthquake.

Alexander J. Hatala, president and CEO of Lourdes Health System, said, “Her absence made us realize what a symbol of hope and healing she truly is — not just for Lourdes associates, but for the entire South Jersey community. She is undoubtedly the guiding light for our health system and the City of Camden.”

Since November, the top three sections of the South Jersey icon underwent repairs by the Kreilick Conservation Company at the George Young facility in Swedesboro. Structural and cosmetic repairs and improvements included the carving and installation of new limestone, using stainless steel dowels and epoxy, as well as drilling of interior holes in order to install additional tensioning bars and anchors for added structural support. A new illuminated halo was also installed thanks to a donation from MidAtlantic Sign Services.

More than 1,200 people, including local businesses and schools, donated more than $65,000 to restoring the statue. Donations came from all over the Delaware Valley and stretched as far as California, New Mexico and Georgia.

“The Our Lady of Lourdes statue has always been an important part of our Lourdes family,” said Ruth Cila, executive director for the Lourdes Health Foundation. “It is amazing how many local residents also feel the same and have come forward to share their stories through all of this. Even though she is made of stone, she encompasses a much deeper meaning and purpose to so many that transcends beyond just the physical.”

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