Mariam Schmitz
Freelance Writer
September 3, 2018 // Diocese

Dramatic statue depicts Jesus before His passion

Mariam Schmitz
Freelance Writer

Upon entering Cathedral Museum, one immediately encounters an impressive, floor-to-ceiling statue depicting Christ praying in the Mount of Olives just before His arrest, passion and death. The statue is entitled “Jesus in the Garden,” and was made in the early 1920s by the Chicago-based Daprato Statuary Company. A placard next to the statue states it originally cost $478, but today it would cost between $12,000 and $15,000. The statue is made of a special kind of plaster called Rigalico.

The “Jesus in the Garden” statue has been in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend for more than 90 years. — Nate Proulx

The work originally resided at St. Paul’s Parish in Fort Wayne until the building was demolished in 2003. It then was moved to Fort Wayne’s St. Patrick Parish. According to Cathedral Museum’s director and the pastor at St. Mary, Mother of God Parish, Father Phillip Widmann, the large statue was in the vestibule of St. Patrick, and when the door was opened, it would get wet from rain or snow. Upon his request, the parish agreed to donate the statue to the museum in 2010. Moving it to the museum proved to be a challenge, though, due to its size. Luckily, the angel’s wings are removable and, as a result, it was brought over successfully.

“Jesus in the Garden” is based upon Chapter 22 of Luke’s Gospel in which Christ knelt and prayed: “‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; still, not my will but yours be done.’ And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him.” The statue illustrates this verse by depicting Jesus looking up at an angel who is offering him a cup with one hand and pointing upwards with the other. In this moment of spiritual agony, Christ is obedient to God’s will much like His mother Mary at the Annunciation. It is indeed a moment to reflect upon during moments of suffering, and to remember when praying for God’s help to bring us through it.

All are welcome to visit Cathedral Museum, located in Fort Wayne’s Archbishop Noll Catholic Center, 915 S. Clinton St. It’s open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by appointment. Admission and parking are free.

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