Moving a piece of Waterloo military & religious history - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Moving a piece of Waterloo military & religious history


WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Moving granite takes time, and patience -- even more so, if you're moving a piece of history. For nearly 50 years, "Our Lady of Peace" looked down on a monument to the Sullivan Brothers outside Saint Mary's Catholic Church. Now it stands in a new place, but after the move, it seems to hold even more significance.

"It's all coming together, it's been a long time," noted organizer Reggie Schmitt.

The process began in 2003, when Saint Mary's closed, but her statue remained.

"This is basically what's left of that parish, and we wanted to preserve part of that parish here," said Ed Hau.

With the parish gone, the statue's future was uncertain -- mainly because of its religious nature. The Sullivan Family finally chose to relocate "Our Lady of Peace" to the Knights of Columbus Hall in Waterloo.

"This was a place where we could honor the religious significance and the military significance all in one place," said Schmitt.

The history behind the statue is amazing in itself. In 1956, long before the Internet or Facebook, Sullivan family members in the Boston area organized funding to build the monument hundreds of miles away, in the Cedar Valley.

"Their family made the ultimate sacrifice... it means a lot to us and the city of Waterloo that we are able to keep their memory alive." explained Hau.

This year, the Knights of Columbus raised enough money to restore the marble statue. Schmitt said the appearance is like night and day. And as the Mother Mary settled into place, veterans, former parishioners, and the Knights themselves beamed with pride.

"I'm pretty tore up about this," Hau said.

Schmitt added, "a lot of people have been looking forward to this for a long time."

The Knights of Columbus and the remaining Sullivan family members are holding a mass and dedication ceremony in November. Its scheduled for November 13th, the anniversary of the sinking of the Sullivan Brothers ship -- the USS Juneau. Albert Sullivan's granddaughter will be the main speaker at that dedication.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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