Rededication and blessing
On March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, a statue of this patron saint of Mother Joseph and of St. Joseph Residence found its way back to the sisters for a blessing and rededication ceremony. Engraved on its base is “St. Joseph of the Flood, of June 1894.”
The concrete statue’s journey has been a remarkable one since it was crafted by Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart in thanksgiving for St. Joseph’s protection after the devastating flood of the Columbia River in June 1894. History records that flood as the highest ever recorded along the Columbia River, measured at 34.4 feet at Vancouver, Wash., on June 7, 1894.
Installed on sisters’ farmhouse in 1895
The short history is that the 4-foot statue was installed on top of the sisters’ farmhouse in 1895 and remained there for several years. In the 1930s it was placed on a pillar in the garden of the nurses’ home at St. Joseph Hospital, where it stayed until the hospital was sold to the Vancouver community.
In late 2012, the hospital’s new sponsors, PeaceHealth, were cleaning out a storage area and offered to return the statue to the Providence Archives or it would be disposed of. Today, after the careful research and restoration work led by the Providence Archives, the statue and its story are secure for future generations.
The statue, which has a home in the lobby at St. Joseph Residence near the superior’s office, is a thing of true beauty. The details of this “good news” story of how it found its way home is too intricate to be recounted fully here, but the details are available on the website of the Providence Archives.
Go to www.providence.org/archives and select the Past Forward link on the left side of the homepage, which will take you to the current issue of the newsletter of the Providence Archives for the full story.