Grand Rapids sculpture of 1800s bishop unveiled

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

A sculpture of a 19th century bishop known for his work in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula has been unveiled in Grand Rapids.

The 7½ -foot bronze sculpture of Frederic Baraga was revealed Tuesday evening outside St. Andrew's Cathedral at Piazza Secchia.

The Peter Secchia (SEK'-ee-uh) Family Foundation commissioned it as part of a series of 25 honoring figures in area history.

In 1833, Baraga established a mission in what's now Grand Rapids. In May, the Vatican declared Baraga "venerable," meaning he's recognized for a life of heroic virtue. It's the first step in the process toward sainthood.

Baraga is known as the "snowshoe priest." He spent 23 years among Indians and settlers and became the Marquette Diocese's first bishop in 1857. He died in 1868.

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