After years of fundraising, members of St. George Parish in Bourbonnais carved out a new devotion to Mary. On Mother’s Day, appropriately enough, Fr. Dan Belanger, CSV, pastor, led a dedication ceremony of a statue of Mary and the child, Jesus, on the parish grounds.

The newly installed Our Lady of Grace statue at St. George Parish

Their quest began nearly three years ago, during the church’s Jubilee Year of Mercy, when parishioners looked for tangible ways to give thanks for God’s providence and mercy.

“I’ve always loved this depiction of Mary,” Fr. Dan says.

Called “Our Lady of Grace,” this particular image holds a lot of significance for Viatorians, dating back to the community’s founder, Fr. Louis Querbes.

Fr. Dan Belanger poses with the Kiefer family on Mother’s Day

Back in the 19th century, Fr. Querbes fostered a special devotion to Mary during the month of May, as the assistant pastor of St. Nizier Church in Lyons, France.

He would assemble his students before the shrine of Our Lady of Grace, located on a side

Children placed flowers at the base of the statue during the dedication

altar, where they would sing songs and recite prayers to the Blessed Mother. Before long, this “Month of Mary” spread to Catholic churches throughout France, and a devotion to Mary would be handed down to all Viatorians.

The statue finally arrived and was installed in November, 2017, but parish members decided to wait until Mother’s Day to dedicate it. They chose a location near the parish cemetery and columbarium wall, adjacent to its angel grotto, making the parish and its campus indeed, sacred ground.

A plaque on its pedestal drew from a quote by Mother Teresa: “Not all of us can do great things, but we can all do small things with great love.”

Dedicated to all mothers
Year of Mercy 2016