By Emily Drooby
Local artist Scott LoBaido, who dreams of a full-sized version of a Mother Cabrini sculpture one day gracing the streets of New York City, was inspired to create one himself on a smaller scale because his family was touched by the saint.
“My grandmother used to take us on the ferry through a train up to Washington Heights to see the Cabrini shrine every year,” he recalled.
His mother told him the wonderful story behind those trips.
“The story is, ‘Your great grandmother was in the tenements. She had consumption. She had a knock at the door going around the tenements.’ Mother Cabrini prayed over my great-grandmother, and she claimed that she cured her,” he explained.
Mother Cabrini then became like the family’s patron saint. When a city-run statue contest snubbed her, Scott knew he had to join other New Yorkers and do something.
“She won hands down and the mayor and his wife said no, and that hurts,” he said.
While some marched behind Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio’s leadership and spoke out, Scott decided to use his art, building a sample sculpture depicting Mother Cabrini shielding a child with a cloak.
As the first U.S. citizen to be canonized, she’s known for her work with both immigrants and orphans.
Scott placed the model on display in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on the saint’s Feast Day, November 13.
Peggy Padovano is one New Yorker who knows Scott’s work well, and braved the cold for a look.
“This statue is amazing, and when I saw the child underneath it hit me right here. And that’s what it should do: hit you right here. You shouldn’t have to think about what the statue is built, you should feel why the statue is built.”
Scott says he will submit the sculpture to the Mother Cabrini statue commission created by Governor Andrew Cuomo, but he’s also looking into private funding.
“Why not have one up right away,” he asked.“I and I know there’s a lot of private organizations out there that are interested in getting something done quicker.”