9 Statues on the Motherhouse Grounds
By Carolyn Kesterman, Communications intern
Earlier this summer, we looked at nine places to visit on the SC Motherhouse grounds, among them several statues. Because there is a great number of other fascinating statues around the campus’ peaceful 75 acres, here are nine more statues of note on the Motherhouse grounds.
1. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Christmas of 1954, Mother Mary Romana Dodd (1889-1973) informed the Sisters that all gift money sent to the Motherhouse would be used toward a white Carrara marble statue of the founder of the Sisters of Charity, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. After much discussion concerning where this new statue would be placed, a plot near the patio behind Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility was chosen. The statue was installed on June 1, 1955, and features Elizabeth Seton holding a book and her side beads.
2. St. Francis and the Birds
Standing on the east lawn of the Motherhouse behind Mother Margaret Hall, this statue depicts St. Francis of Assisi holding his arms up as birds fly between his hands. This reminder of a saint who valued peace stands next to the Peace Pole on the lawn, making the space one for calm contemplation. The statue was given to the Motherhouse as a gift from Turner Construction Company on the completion of the renovation of the Motherhouse Chapel in 2002.
3. St. Anthony
Depicting St. Anthony of Padua holding the baby Jesus, this statue stands in a flower bed to the right of Mother Margaret Hall’s front entrance. The statue was purchased in memory of Anthony Bodde, brother of S. Marie Adelaide Bodde (1882-1963) and uncle of current member S. Mary Alberta Bodde. He was a benefactor of Mother Margaret Hall, and as such is remembered beside its entrance with his namesake.
In the previous grounds article, we looked at the St. Joseph with Christ Child statue on the lawn in front of the Motherhouse. This statue of Mary was installed at the same time, completed at the same time as the stone retaining wall that was ordered by Mother Sebastian Shea (1847-1918) to prevent damage to the Motherhouse when the hill appeared to be sliding. The two statues were intended to “guard the front slope.” This statue of Mary rests amidst benches at the west end of the path, a good view of the Ohio River is visible behind it much of the year.
5. St. Therese of the Little Flower
This statue of St. Therese of the Little Flower was originally located in Marydale Gardens at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati. Marydale Gardens was a formal garden with religious statuary donated to the hospital in 1928 by Senator Robert H. O’Brien. When it was demolished in 1956 to make room for a new wing of the hospital, this statue and two others were moved to the Motherhouse. The two others now stand in the cemetery, and St. Therese stands in Seton courtyard, a flower garden with bird feeders.
6. St. Francis of Assisi
This smaller statue of St. Francis of Assisi with a bird in his hands was originally at St. Joseph Hospital in Mount Clemens, Michigan. Several Sisters have served at the hospital through the years, including 2017 Jubilarian S. Bernadette Kambeitz, who is celebrating 80 years with the Community. The statue now stands beside a small pond in Seton Courtyard.
7. Sacred Heart
This statue of Jesus stands near the labyrinth by the cemetery entrance. It originally stood at the Clifton Avenue entrance of Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, before being moved to the hospital’s student nurses’ residence, Victoria Hall, when the hospital auditorium was built. When Victoria Hall was demolished in 1989 and replaced by a medical office building, the statue came to the Motherhouse where it can be seen on the hill with arms outstretched as one nears the cemetery.
8. Angel with crown and roses
This statue is one of several that were brought to the Motherhouse in 2012 from Villa San Bernardo in Bedford, Ohio – the Motherhouse for the Vincentian Sisters of Charity – when it closed some years after their merger with the Community in Cincinnati. This statue now stands in an enclosure of benches and plants on the eastern end of the cemetery near a second Sacred Heart statue that also came from Bedford.
9. St. Catherine Labouré
Also from Villa San Bernardo in Bedford is this statue of St. Catherine Labouré, a Daughter of Charity who was visited by Mary as a novice and given the task of bringing the Miraculous Medal to the world. The statue stood on a brick display structure outside the chapel at Bedford, next to the Saints Louise de Marillac and Vincent de Paul statues mentioned in the previous grounds article. Today, the St. Catherine statue stands on the easternmost path of the cemetery, a reminder of the Community’s ties to the Daughters of Charity.
All of the statues at the Motherhouse tell stories of the many places the Community has served and the figures that have been important to them along the way. Their presence makes the Motherhouse grounds come alive.
In order to preserve the safety of the Motherhouse grounds, we ask that if you would like to visit these places in person, you schedule a guided tour by calling the Motherhouse Front Desk at 513-347-5300.