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Hundreds attend Chaminade statue dedication

Published On: Jan 22 2013 05:27:13 PM HST

Chaminade University

HONOLULU -

More than 500 attended Tuesday's dedication of the bronze statue of the Blessed Father William Chaminade, according to Chaminade University.

The statue stands in the oval gardens of the shared campus of Chaminade University, Marianist Center of Hawaii and Saint Louis School at 3140 Waialae Avenue.

According to Bro. Robert Hoppe, vice president of Marianist Center of Hawaii, the statue is 10-feet-2-inches-tall and on a 2-foot-tall pedestal, making it 12-feet-2-inches-tall from bottom to top.

Weighing in at 3,000 pounds, the statue was created by Joe Aspell, renowned sculptor and former Marianist brother.  The statue arrived on campus on Friday, Nov. 16, and mounted that same day.  Lights were later installed for evening viewing.

Designed to capture a pivotal moment in Chaminade's life as he returned to France from Saragossa, the statue depicts the founder on the verge of possibilities and invites the visitor to enter into collaboration with the Marianist visionary.  The statue is of a young visionary in his late 30s, early 40s, about to build an organization of both and lay and religious order members, as a way to restore the Catholic faith to France after the French revolution.

Currently, smaller versions of the statue have been installed at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas and at the Marianist Provincial Office in St. Louis, Missouri.

One of similar size also stands on the campus of University of Dayton in Ohio.  St. Mary's, University of Dayton and Chaminade are Marianist-sponsored universities.

The statue was commissioned to honor the 250th anniversary of Chaminade's birth.

Chaminade, a French priest, escaped to Spain during the Revolution after refusing to take the Oath of fidelity all clergy were ordered to swear.   When he returned to Bordeaux, he brought together an eclectic group of merchants, priests, teachers, chimney sweeps, former soldiers and others from all walks of life who drew their inspiration from Mary and believed strongly in service to youth and the poor.  They became the Society of Mary, or Marianists.  The statue depicts Father Chaminade as a young man returning to France from his exile in Spain.  He is shown on the move, about to begin his mission.  The book in his arm is a symbol of the Marianist quest for knowledge through faith and reason.

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