Photos: Our Lady of Lourdes statue returned to its rightful place

The Our Lady of Lourdes statue that was removed for repairs last year is now back in its rightful place atop the Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center.

The statue’s top three layers, which were taken down due to extensive damage from August’s earthquake, were reinstalled Tuesday afternoon.

A spokesperson for the hospital says crews will now remove the scaffolding that was in place for the re-installment. The hospital plans to hold a re-dedicaiton ceremony at some point in the spring or early summer.

According to the medical center, Tuesday’s installation marked exactly five months to the day since crews removed the top top three layers of the statue. Workers say the top three layers suffered a vertical crack and significant chipping during the 5.8 magnitude August 2011 earthquake.

“We look forward to having Our Lady of Lourdes back with us,” said Alexander J. Hatala, President and CEO of Lourdes Health System.

“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.”

The statue, which stands 30 fet high and weights 15 tons, has been in place at the Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center since March 21, 1949, when it was raised to the top a year before the hospital was completed. The statue’s halo alone weighs 1,000 pounds, according to hospital staff. It is one of the largest religius statues in the country.

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