St. Anthony returns to Chapel
When the patron saint of things that are missing goes missing, people still pray to that patron saint.
And in this instance, it worked, said Joan Jadin, owner of a statue of St. Anthony that was stolen from the chapel her family built in the woods that would become part of the Cofrin Memorial Arboretum.
“It’s the power of prayer. Never under estimate the power of prayer,” Jadin said. “There were a lot of people praying for St. Anthony, and now he’s back here.”
Joan and Norbert Jadin take care of the inside of the LeMieux Chapel, which became a lasting part of the UW-Green Bay campus when the University acquired the land to expand the arboretum about 25 years ago.
Joan’s grandparents built the chapel on the back of their property when they lived on Bay Settlement Road decades ago. Under terms of the LeMieux sale, the University agreed to routine chapel upkeep. It could not, however, pledge scarce resources to structural work in keeping with the arboretum’s nature-first mission.
Joan and Norbert were heartbroken to hear that the statue was stolen from the always-unlocked chapel sometime in early summer.
They called local media outlets to report the news and seek help in its safe return.
It paid off.
A passerby discovered the statue in a ditch in the Baird Creek Parkway a few miles from campus. It was spray painted white and St. Anthony’s hand had been broken off. But it was in otherwise good condition, and her family was thankful it was not completely destroyed, Joan said.
“It felt wonderful, just wonderful, to see that it wasn’t all broken into pieces,” Joan said.
A local artist gave St. Anthony a fresh coat of paint and carved a new hand based on the original look of the approximately 80- to 90-year-old statue.
On Thursday (Oct. 1), the Jadins returned the statue to its space behind the alter in the center of the chapel.
Local media outlets from Green Bay covered the event as the story of the missing patron saint of things that are missing came to a happy ending—St. Anthony is no longer missing.
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Photos by Mike Heine,
Office of Marketing and University Communication
While the statue has been returned, the person or persons responsible for its disappearance remain at large. Anyone with information about the theft of the statue are asked to call University Police at (920) 465-2300 ext. 2, or the Crime Stoppers Hotline at (920) 432-7867 if they wish to remain anonymous.