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Madonna and Child statue repaired, refurbished and protected

Toronto, August 29, 2016

By Rebecca Goss

Statue of the Madonna and Child
Statue of the Madonna and Child in the north elevator bay on the 15th floor of the Cardinal Carter Wing. (Photo by Yuri Markarov)

In the north elevator bay on the 15th floor of the Cardinal Carter Wing, a five-foot-tall statue of the Madonna and Child welcomes patients and staff to the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department.

The statue has been in the hospital for longer than staff can remember, possibly going back to when the nuns ran the hospital.

“You can’t just buy statues like this one anymore,” said Filomena Machado, the director of mission and values. “It’s become an icon for the floor.”

However, over the years the statue has received almost too much love, said Diana Potts, the administrative manager of Obstetrics, Gynecology and the Advanced Level 2 NICU. The statue holds significance to staff and patients, with many touching the statue for good fortune or praying to it.

“Whether people see the statue with religious significance, or as a mom and her baby, everybody takes at least some inspiration from this statue,” said Potts. “You can tell that it means a lot to the people on this floor.”

   
“We want to keep the beautiful, inspirational pieces of our hospital in the best condition they can be.”
- Diana Potts, administrative manager of Obstetrics, Gynecology and the Advanced Level 2 NICU

Between the age of the statue and the attention it receives, the plaster statue has had to be repaired and refurbished many times. The last repair occurred last fall to fix the extensive damage to the baby Jesus’ arm and hand. When Madonna and Child returned to the hospital, it was placed in a Plexiglas case as a proactive way of preserving the statue. The case was built by Tony Araujo and Daniel Travassos, a carpenter and painter in Engineering and Plant Services at St. Michael’s.

“We want to keep the beautiful, inspirational pieces of our hospital in the best condition they can be,” said Potts. “It’s important to preserve St. Michael’s history and icons.”

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.