Around New England

‘Turnpike Madonna’ Statue In New Hands, Apparently Unenthusiastic About It

July 11, 2019

A white statue of the Virgin Mary put up in 1964 on private property visible from the Massachusetts Turnpike in Warren is in the hands of new property owners who apparently aren’t thrilled about it.

Quebec-born Alfred Brodeur owned the land 55 years ago when he placed the statue in thanksgiving for the recovery of his wife from breast cancer. It’s on the eastbound side of the Massachusetts Turnpike, between mile markers 68 and 69.

“Gleeful over his wife’s recovery, Alfred Brodeur erected the Madonna, which his son said was intended to encourage prayer, especially the recitation of the rosary, which Alfred felt was dwindling in the early 1960s. He placed a kneeler and a bench in front of the statue,” The Boston Globe reported in 2006.

After he died in 1998, the statue was maintained by his daughter Diane Fontaine and her husband, Bud, according to MassLive.com.

The Fontaines, now elderly, sold the approximately 120-acre property last year to a limited liability company controlled by Jon and Janet Callahan, with a provision in the agreement that the statue remain and that the area be kept up, Diane Fontaine recently told MassLive.com.

Instead, a tent was placed over the statue and rhododendrons planted around it shortly after the sale went through, grass has at times been high around it, and the light that is supposed to illuminate it at night has at times been out, Fontaine told MassLive.com.

New owner Jon Callahan declined to comment on the record, according to MassLive.com.

“We don’t want to make them look bad. We just want it maintained,” Diane Fontaine said, according to MassLive.com.

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