During Father Reiser’s 50th Anniversary in 1999, it was decided to build a Fatima Shrine. Father said that all of his monetary gifts would be donated to the making of the statues of Mary and the children.
Father talked to Mark Sanislo, our resident, professional artist, as to how to go about getting statues. Mark looked through many catalogs but couldn’t find anything that would be good enough for Mary. He knew these couldn’t be just any statues so he did some more research and decided on Carrara Marble, from Carrara, Italy.
Carrara marble is a type of white or blue-grey marble of high quality, popular for use in sculpture and building decor. It is quarried in the city of Carrara located in the province of Massa and Carrara in the Lunigiana, the northernmost tip of modern-day Tuscany, Italy.
It was decided that the Fatima Mary and the children were to be hand carved from this Carrara marble, the base of Mary is Granite from Cold Springs, and the other statues and plaques were to be pounded marble resin.
Mark used three of his children as models for Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia. His wife, Cheri, was the model for Mary. He sent these sketches to the sculpture in Italy so he could get an idea of their posture and placement.
Midway through the process Mark traveled to Carrara, Italy to oversee the process and to ensure that Mother Mary and the children had the same look.
While the statues were being hand carved in Italy, back here at Epiphany, the land where the statues were to be placed needed to be prepared. The patio that Mary and the children are on has a brick foundation under it to support her 2 ton weight.
Mark was explaining how there were so many wonderful volunteers helping with physical labor, providing hardware for the Stations of the Cross plaques and of course all the gracious monetary donations. He recalled a sod truck pulling up with a load of sod. The owners of the sod said it’s yours for free but you must take it as is and haul it. It had just rained more than normal and the sod was saturated from the rain. Depending on the moisture content of the soil, sod can weigh anywhere from 15-30 pounds per piece. Epiphany volunteers hauled soaked sod with back-breaking effort and covered the land we now call our Fatima Shrine.
The statues arrived in 2000 with the dedication taking place November 19, 2000. The Celebrant for the dedication was Bishop Frederick Campbell.
The nature and purpose of the shrine is to bring spiritual growth to our families; our immediate family, our extended family, our parish family and our Christian family.