The parishioners of St. Elizabeth Catholic church have made an important addition to their church. In honour of the parish's namesake, a statue of St. Elizabeth was recently commissioned.
Members of the Pastoral Council earlier this year discussed the possibility of procuring a statue of St. Elizabeth as one way in which to mark the new millennium. Council member Virginia Parkinson agreed to research the options and costs of having a carved statue made. The new statue was to be in keeping with the interior styling of the church and the two existing statues.
Parkinson reported, “A friend of mine at the Annunciation of the Lord out in Beaconhill North found a carver to do the cross and resurrected Christ on it. I saw his work and thought it was so beautiful.” The carver was Mr. Bourgault in Port Joli, Quebec.
Based on a conversation between Bourgault and Parkinson, with the assistance of another parish member to handle the translation, a few sketches and wood options were sent to the parish.
“He gave us a choice of three types of wood,” Parkinson said, “basswood, butternut and yellow birch. We chose the yellow birch because it was closer in colour to the other statues.”
Because the parish is named after St. Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, who was visited by Mary, mother of Jesus when she was pregnant, the council wished to have a statue which reflected the visitation event.
“We decided (on the sketch with) the hands folded over top of the abdomen, looking pregnant,” Parkinson noted. The council also decided to represent an older individual as she is presumed to be in her late forties at the time of the visitation.
“I had asked (the carver) to have her with her eyes looking directly out at the congregation,” Parkinson explained. “He did it well. You will also notice that her hands look worn. I imagine she was a hard working woman, as they all were in those days.”
After a few more telephone calls, the carver set to work. “The next thing we knew it was on its way,” Parkinson declared. “She really was something! We had not known what to expect. When we saw her she was really very beautiful. (Bourgault) certainly is a master carver. You can see what a beautiful artist he is.”
The statue has been set on a base on the left side of the church sanctuary, next to the altar of repose. A brass plaque has been added to the base with the inscription: St. Elizabeth of the Visitation. In conjunction with the parish's 35th anniversary next spring, the archbishop has been invited to celebrate Mass and bless the statue.