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Fil-Canadian artist recreates statue of beloved saint

   John Millar front
John Millar with St. Bernadette’s life-size statue he recreated for St. Malo Shrine. Pilipino Express interview and photos by Lucille Nolasco-Garrido

St. Malo, Manitoba is known for its provincial park, a man-made lake, and year-round activities. But perhaps it is best known for the St. Malo Shrine and Grotto, where thousands of visitors marvel at the picturesque reproduction of the Grotto in Lourdes, France. One of the central figures in this hallowed ground located within a peaceful woodland is a statue of St. Bernadette kneeling in front of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as a lifelike reclining statue of the saint inside the small chapel.

But June of last year, this very statue, which was resting in glass coffin inside the chapel, was stolen. Church officials at the Blessed Margaret Parish hoped to have it found and returned in time for the annual pilgrimage to the grotto, scheduled every August. But despite reporting the incident to the RCMP, no leads as to its whereabouts were received.