Our Blessed Virgin Mary has been an iconic addition to Mount Saint Mary’s University and Seminary for nearly sixty years. Students from far and wide would arrive, return and leave the Mount under the marvel of our Blessed Mother’s arms to welcome and bid adieu to everyone on the premises. However, in early 2021, it was discovered that the great bronze statue that stands 26 feet tall above a 78-foot bell tower, had accumulated damage from weather and age. Thus, on July 7, 2021, Mary left her home at the Mount to travel to Fairfax, Virginia where she would spend the course of the next year going through restoration, while her pedestal and bell tower also had work done as well.
Upon the arrival of the class of 2025 heading into their freshman year, Mary was absent to greet her children and keep vigil over the school. Her absence was felt throughout the entirety of the university’s inhabitants, faculty and staff, including over 300,000 grotto visitors throughout her time away.
While in Fairfax, Virginia, Mary had significant work done to ensure that she could remain standing for the next 100 years without needing to remove her again. Welders repaired the cracks in the bronze, removed horribly rusted steel, installed a brand-new, stainless-steel armature inside of her, as well as getting regilded upon her return to bring back her shiny appearance. Students were pleasantly surprised and overjoyed to find Mary greeting them for the first time in over a year upon the start of a new school year.
Alyssa Pierangeli, a sophomore here at Mount St. Mary’s, had joyful remarks to share on Mary’s long-awaited return. She remarked, “Mary returning to the Mount ultimately has made me feel a lot more safe and loved. When she left, I missed her loving gaze and embrace over the entire school. Each time I glance up and see her, I am reminded of the gentleness that I am to emulate. This school has missed its mother.” Sophomore Dori Hans had similar sentiments regarding the matter as well, saying, “Well, I love that she is back!
I made a devotion to the blessed mother in high school, and I was really looking forward to coming to the Mount where I could see her statue throughout campus and walking between classes; Like a daily reminder of that devotion I made years ago.” Another student even commented that “she really ties the campus together.”
Here at the Mount, everyone cannot be any more overjoyed by her return and be able to reside under her warm and blessed embrace. She is able to continue being a symbol of the campus’ everlasting and devout faith in the Blessed Mother and the Holy Trinity by reminding all that no one is ever truly alone.