This porcelain Virgin Mary statue came at a vital time in my grandparents’ journey immigrating from Ecuador to New York. They settled in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the spring of 1969, with their first address being at 144 Wallabout Avenue. They left behind my mother and 4 other children in order to work and earn enough money to reunite the family in the United States. My grandfather worked in a hardware factory, making nails and locks, while my grandmother worked in another factory, installing mirrors on dressers. Together, they managed to get a one bedroom apartment. One night while they were asleep, a fire broke out in the apartment building but they managed to escape through the fire escape. They were relocated temporarily to a hotel. While they were grateful to be safe they realized they were back at square one; they saw their hard work literally burned up in flames. It was a very hard night for them. The next day they returned to the building to see if they could retrieve any other belongings. My grandmother found this Virgin Mary statue, sticking out among the debris. She, being very religious herself, took this to be a sign and took it with her. The statue served as a symbol of hope for my Grandparents and they have treasured it ever since. This statue has been a fixture of my grandparents’ home for the 47 years they have lived in the US. The statue serves to as a reminder that God is watching over them and the long journey they have had during the past 47 years.
– Andrea Zambrano