Our Lady of Guadalupe statue restored and welcomed home in procession

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(ABC 6 News) – On Sunday, The St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church traveled to southeast Rochester in a procession to welcome home their saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

A couple of months ago, Our Lady of Guadalupe was brought to some local artists to be restored. On Sunday, dozens of community members came together to celebrate her homecoming.

A procession of cars and more than 30 horses welcomed her home.

She was donated to the church five years ago by the order of the nuns, the Trinitarians.

She’s known as the Virgin Mary or the Virgin of Guadalupe in Roman Catholicism.

She holds a special place in the religious life of Mexico and the country sees her as a national symbol.

With thousands of people coming out to pray to her every year and standing outside through Minnesota’s unpredictable weather, it was time for a little restoration.

The restoration included structural work and a paint job.

Spring Valley Artist Michelle de la Vega Ludwig, who took on the project says she even painted Mary’s skin as a representation of the Hispanic community.

“I grew up in southern California around a lot of Mexican culture, Latinx culture. I’m Latinx so it’s nice to experience that here. I don’t see a lot of that where we live in the country,” said de la Vega.

Similar statues can be seen across the globe including in La Crosse and Mexico.

Mary Herring, a member of the church offered her private property as a home for Mary.

“I’ve always wanted a location where people can come pray. So this works out really well. We needed a location, beautiful, quiet, and a good spot,” said Herring.

Mary stands nine feet tall and is located in southeast Rochester, right off of Saint Bridget Rd. and Forest Knoll Dr. SE at the top of the hill.

Several people who were at Sunday’s event said it’s about everyone coming together.

“I think it was a great opportunity for someone like myself who is a Catholic raised in the United States to experience some of the traditions and cultures of Catholics from other parts of the world,” said Britt Noser, an event attendee.

“We’re just trying to establish her in her new home and trying to let people know that she’s over here, and everybody is welcomed," said church member, Efrein Carrillo.

The church hopes to one day add a monastery or a covenant.

The statue can be visited at all hours of the day.