Workers are set to return an iconic landmark that was damaged during a rare East Coast earthquake atop a New Jersey hospital on Tuesday.
Craftsmen repaired cracks and other damage to the 30-foot Blessed Mother statue that has rested above Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden since 1949.
“The Our Lady of Lourdes statue has always been an important part of our Lourdes family,” said Executive Director for the Lourdes Health Foundation Ruth Cila. “It is amazing how many local residents also feel the same and have come forward to share their stories through all of this. Even though she is made of stone, she encompasses a much deeper meaning and purpose to so many that transcends beyond just the physical.”
The statue also serves as a beacon for aircraft landing at Philadelphia International Airport.
The 5.8 magnitude earthquake in August shifted the statue's top three layers and caused cracks and chipping.
Most of the cost of repairs was covered by insurance. However, more than 1,200 donors contributed money to offset a $100,000 deductible.
“We look forward to having Our Lady of Lourdes back with us,” said President and CEO of Lourdes Health System Alexander Hatala. “Her absence made us realize what a symbol of hope and healing she truly is -- not just for Lourdes associates -- but for the entire South Jersey community. She is undoubtedly the guiding light for our health system and the City of Camden.”