Statue of the Virgin Mary

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

When my grandmother came to the United States in 1988, she only had several things that she could take with her from China. My object is one of these items and it is a statue of the Virgin Mary. Being a Catholic in China in the mid-20th century was very difficult. Catholics were persecuted by the Communists. My grandmother had to practice secretly. Although there was a risk, she carried it with her during her travels. When she got to the United States, she proudly displayed this statue in her home. The struggle she had faced in China, not only from religious persecution, but also from poor living conditions, made her truly grateful of America and strengthened her faith in God. Religion had become a part of her identity and she dedicated a lot of time to the church.  My family moved to the same apartment building as my grandmother once I was born and she helped raise me. Because of this, Catholicism was an important part of my childhood. The first memory I have is me holding the statue when I was 4 and my grandmother talking to me. I went to Sunday school for years and prayed with my grandmother constantly. She always reminded me to never take things for granted and having faith in God is important.  I picked this statue as my object since it represents different things for my family and me. For my grandmother, it represented religious freedom and her religious identity. For me, it represents how Catholicism impacted my childhood and the fond memories of my grandmother.

Year: 1988

– John Zhang

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant