CLAYTON NJ--In 2013, the Monastery of the Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary in Camden closed, bringing to an end 113 years of continuous prayer in the city.
The sisters eventually relocated to one of their communities in Springfield, Ill. One of the things they left behind was a statue of St. Michael the Archangel. It was given to the saint’s namesake elementary school in Clayton, ensuring that Lorraine M. Murphy and her family will continue to be remembered in South Jersey.
The St. Michael statue, a Daprato statue from Italy, was donated to the monastery by the parents of Lorraine M. Murphy, who died on May 24, 1926, at 6 years old, two days after she made her first Communion.
The statue now rests on the grounds of St. Michael the Archangel School, intact with the memorial plaque honoring the Murphy family.
Bishop Dennis Sullivan blesses a statue of St. Michael the Archangel in the memorial garden of St. Michael the Archangel Regional School, Clayton, on May 6. The statue previously stood on the grounds of the Monastery of the Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary in Camden, which closed in 2013. (Photo by James A. McBride)
So a statue that was donated, in memory of a child, as an aid to devotion for contemplative nuns now stands watch for energetic children in uniform throughout their school day. In keeping with artistic tradition, the archangel has wings, wears a helmet and armor, and stands over Satan in semi-human form.
On May 6, Bishop Dennis Sullivan blessed the statue during an afternoon prayer service at its resting place in the memorial garden.
“We were touched when we heard that the St. Michael statue was coming to us,” said Janice Bruni, principal.
Before the blessing, students learned about the story of the statue and the Murphy family, she said.
“St. Michael is the defender of our faith,” Bruni said. “He’s protecting us all”
Written by Peter G. Sánchez