Catholic monks donate casket to shooting victim's family - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Catholic monks donate casket to shooting victim's family


DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- In Saturday's shooting in Tucson, Arizona, six people lost their lives, 13 others were wounded. The youngest victim was nine-year-old Christina Green. She will be laid to rest Thursday in Tucson and buried in a hand-crafted casket, made by Roman Catholic monks in Iowa.

The casket for Christina Taylor Green was donated by Trappist Caskets, a company owned and operated by monks of the New Melleray Abbey, just outside of Dubuque.

As Sam Mulgrew walked through the inside of Trappist Caskets, there was a definite feeling of emptiness. "It takes on an all together different meaning when you reflect on the fact that someone that has been loved and beloved has been placed in the casket and is buried in the ground," said General Manager, Sam Mulgrew.

Every casket is hand made by Trappist monks. There are 15 on staff, along with about 15 lay people, they work everyday to hand-craft caskets of all sizes.

"We grow our own timber here so we manager our own forest and we harvest lumber trees from the forest to make caskets," Mulgrew said.

But these caskets aren't just made with wood, there is a sense of true sacrifice and love put in each one.

"They impart a life of prayer into making the caskets by praying as they work, each casket is blessed," Mulgrew said.

But after the tragic shootings in Tucson, Mulgrew received a call from a funeral director in Arizona with one small request.

"Christina's family is Catholic so it was particularly meaningful to them that they had Catholic monks making their daughter's casket," Mulgrew said.

9-year-old, Christian Taylor Green was born on September 11th, 2001.  This week, the monks hand-crafted a casket and donated it to her family.

"In addition to that Christina's family got a keepsake cross with Christina's name engraved on them also," Mulgrew said.

Now her family will carry a cross to remember a life lost too soon.

"You know you have people that are grieving the loss. Loved ones and when you reflect on that and it's eventual end use, it's kind of sobering," Mulgrew said.

Christina's visitation was Wednesday night. Her funeral is Thursday.

A mass will be said in Christina's honor at the abbey on Thursday and a tree will be planted on the property. That tree will eventually be harvested and made into a casket. The Trappist monks donate all caskets to families who have lost a child.

The monks also crafted a casket for Christian Soggard, the former Loras College student who was killed in a car accident last Wednesday.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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