Marian Shrine receives replica of Michelangelo masterpiece

CHAMPION, Wis. (WBAY) -- An exact replica of one of the most famous sculptures in history has a new home at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion.

"It was his masterpiece, this is definitely his most important work," said Father John Broussard, who calls the sculpture a blessing for the Shrine.

"For us to have a replica of that is very meaningful in our shrine here, in our Marian Shrine."

Michelangelo unveiled what would come to be regarded as one of the world's great masterpieces of inspired art 500 years ago.

The Pieta' shows the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Christ after his crucifixion death.

The original is housed inside St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

"If you've ever been to Rome, you go and you see the original one but it's behind glass and it's very far away. Here, it's very close up and people have the opportunity to come and get a very up close and personal look at the statue, it's so beautiful, we absolutely see people gravitating towards that and trying to take the opportunity to see it in all it detail, because that was one of the things Michelangelo was noted for was the detail in the statue," said Father Broussard.

The Carrara marble, exact life-sized casting of the Pieta' is the 47th of only 100 authorized by the Vatican to be created and placed in Catholic Cathedrals, Churches and landmarks around the world.

"A very generous donor, a friend of The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help purchased one for us," said Father Broussard.

Father Broussard says the Pieta symbolizes, for Christians, what both Christmas and Easter are all about.

"God's love for his people, when you look at that and you see His Blessed Mother holding Him in such a vulnerable, loving way it just engenders faith from within you."

The Pieta' was gifted to the shrine for its new sanctuary and events center scheduled to open in the spring.

Until then, the sculpture will reside in the 1941 chapel.