Our Lady of Waterford
Our Lady of Waterford
This beautiful little statue can be found in St Saviours church on Bridge Street in Waterford. It is located on the right hand side ( as you enter ) just outside the altar rails. The title Our Lady of Waterford is appropriate as the statue has helped generations of Waterford people in their devotion to the Mother of God.
The Dominicans first came to Waterford in 1226 and it is believed the statue held a place of honour in the original Dominican Priory situated on Blackfriars Street. When the last Prior, William Martin surrendered the priory to Henry VIII the site contained a chapel called ‘ Our Lady’s chapel ‘ and it is possible the statue was procured for that Chapel.
It is made of wood lightly painted. It was made on the continent of Europe but it’s date of origin is uncertain.
Dispossession and persecution failed to dim the devotion of the people of Waterford to the Mother of God. Without the shelter of a priory or chapel the statue some how survived the persecution. One of the Dominican friars wrapped it carefully, applied three coats of paint and then encased the whole lot in a large brick. Miraculously, when the danger had passed, it was discovered, excavated from the block, unwrapped and cleaned.
In 1815 with the death of Fr. Anthony Duane it seemed as if the Dominican presence in Waterford had come to an end. The statue was removed to the Dominican Black Abbey in Kilkenny and later it was taken to Limerick. Invited back by Bishop O’Brien in 1865 the Dominicans resumed their apostolate in Waterford. In 1867 they opened an oratory in Bridge Street and in May 1876 the present church was opened for public worship. The statue of Our Lady of Waterford was returned from Limerick and has remained in this church ever since.
In gratitude for the many favours received the people of Waterford commissioned Messrs. Egan of Cork to make two gold crowns and a sceptre for the statue. These were placed on the statue in a ceremony in 1934 in front of a large congregation.
This statue has been removed for renovation and for its protection during the work on the church.
Our Lady of Waterford protect us.