SAN JUAN, Texas – An Italian woodcrafter recently finished a nearly two-year art project of a 10-foot statue of the Virgin Mary to stand outside the pilgrimage site of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine. The piece compliments the current 30 bronze statues showing a dozen scenes of Jesus’ passion, known as the Stations of the Cross.
Weighing between 800 to 1,000 pounds, the new statue will be the first Mary statue outside the basilica. The bronze piece will stand atop a 16-foot pedestal as part of a new welcome plaza.
Italian woodcrafter Edmund Rabanser created the life-sized Stations of the Cross statues, as well as the new Mary statue. Rabanser, who is now in his 80s, carved the original pieces as part of a five-year project in 1993. Each of the statues started as a wood carving before being cast in bronze.
The Basilica welcomes anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 pilgrims weekly. Free group tours are available for all faiths. For more information, read the Brownsville Herald article or visit www.olsjbasilica.org.