Statue of Mary continues to watch over Hamburg family
Visitors to SS. Peter & Paul’s Cemetery in Hamburg have found solace when entering the section known as Our Lady’s Garden and seeing the beautiful statue of Mary, Our Blessed Mother, sitting on top of the columbarium. Evidence of this intense sentiment is noted by the frequent floral offering placed before her as well as occasional written requests for Mary’s intercession. Many have noticed that Mary disappeared for a few weeks this spring but has recently returned. I shall like to give a brief history of the statue’s origin and travels.
The statue originally belonged to my great aunt, Ethel Weber Winter of North Collins. Her parents were the proprietors of the Weber Hotel, a Hamburg landmark on Buffalo Street. When it was necessary for Ethel to downsize and move back to Hamburg, she gave her beloved statue to her niece, my mother, Marian Weber Bull. Mary was a presence in the garden of our family home on Eckhardt Road for many years. Eventually, Mom moved to a much smaller home at Fox Run. Mary moved with her and occupied a special place on her patio. Frequently, I would telephone my mom to see how her day was progressing. A typical response would be: “Enjoying an afternoon on the patio with Mary.” She had a tremendous devotion to the Blessed Mother and there was always a rosary within reach.
About five years ago, Mom’s health declined and she moved to the assisted care section at Fox Run. Lovely facility, outstanding care, but alas, no room for Mary’s statue. While sorting items for her transition she told me, “Take Mary and find the right place for her.” I dutifully wrapped her in Dad’s old army blanket and she rode around in my truck for a few weeks. One day I decided to stop at the cemetery to visit my father’s grace. I parked near the columbarium and was suddenly struck with the idea that Mary belonged there. I lifted the statue and centered it on top of the granite structure where she remains and has inspired and consoled so many families.
A few weeks later, I brought Mom to Dad’s grave. I parked again near the columbarium, but had not told her about the site I selected for Mary. As I parked the car, she said, “Oh, It looks just like my statue.” Then she turned to me and said, “Good job, Robert.”
Just a few months later, Mary was there to welcome my Mom’s funeral procession as she was laid to rest alongside my father and within a short distance of the statue.
This spring, we noticed the ravages of our seasonal elements. The statue showed signs of cracking, peeling and fading. It was felt that an urgent intervention was on order. My sister Marlene Lamparelli visited the site this spring and decided to take Mary to a friend and fellow parishioner at SS. Joachim & Anne Parish in Attica, Deena Mack, who is an artist that works with cement and stone objects. Mrs. Mack agreed to restore, repair and paint the statue. The results are phenomenal.
On Memorial Day weekend. Marlene, myself and two other sisters, Kathleen Lell and Barbara Bull, met at the cemetery to return Mary to her “home.” To our strains of “Immaculate Mary your Praise We Sing,” Mary was placed back on the columbarium. It is my family’s hope that she will continue to be the beacon of peace and comfort to all who visit for years to come.
A statue of Mary, which has been in the Weber – Bull family for generations, now rests on a columbarium overlooking the grave of Marian Weber Bull in SS. Peter & Paul Cemetery in Hamburg. Photo courtesy of the Bull Family.