Northern Ontario statue of baby Jesus gets its head back after being decapitated


Published on June 19, 2017

A statue is shown outside Ste. Anne des Pins parish in Sudbury, Ont., on Thursday Oct. 20, 2016. A statue of baby Jesus that remained headless for months after it was decapitated in northern Ontario has been resurrected.The head that was knocked off and stolen has been restored to the statue at the Ste. Anne des Pins parish in Sudbury, Ont., though the volunteer who made the repairs says there is still a few days' work to be done.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Gino Donato

A statue of baby Jesus that remained headless for months after it was decapitated in northern Ontario has been resurrected.

The head that was knocked off and stolen has been restored to the statue at the Ste. Anne des Pins parish in Sudbury, Ont., though the volunteer who made the repairs says there is still a few days' work to be done.

Gilles Grandmaison, a retired parishioner who is donating his labour to the church, says he still needs to fix the statue's nose and its hand, which had both been broken.

He says the materials for the work are too toxic to be used indoors so the project's progress is at the mercy of the weather.  

The statue was vandalized more than a year ago but captured the world's attention last fall when it was fitted with a temporary clay head that prompted online comparisons to a character from "The Simpsons."

The bright orange terracotta head was later removed so it wouldn't stain the white stone of the statue, and the original head was recovered shortly afterwards.

The church said the original head had been stolen by someone it described as a "troubled teen."

Grandmaison said he offered his services after hearing that the repairs to the statue would cost an arm and a leg.

He reattached the statue's head by drilling a hole about four centimetres deep in it and in the neck, then inserting a metal rod and securing it with industrial adhesive.

It would be impossible to decapitate the statue again, he said.

"They won't be able to detach it. To detach it, they'd have to break it completely," he said in French.

The change to the statue is already catching the eye of the community, with many stopping to examine his work and take pictures, he said.

The church has said the statue has lost its head at least once before but in each case, the missing piece was found and reattached.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press