The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Showdown at the JC Corral

By Matt Wood in News on Jan 4, 2006 5:25PM

2006_01_mary.jpegOn New Year's Eve, the nuns and priests at the Fraternite Notre Dame retreat in suburban Marengo spent the night praying. When they returned to their lodgings in the morning, they found that vandals had spray-painted profanities and threats all over a statue of the Virgin Mary, one of Jesus, and a nearby pillar.

The monastery is controversial in the community because residents fear its plans for expansion will upset the rural peacefulness of the community. The vandals painted "LEAVE" on one of the statues, so police believe the vandals weren't just out practicing their fill-in techniques. Score one for passive aggression.

The fragile nuns at the retreat spent most of the day crying. As if that weren't enough, the Cook County graffiti busters rolled in and made matters worse. They arrived unannounced and started blasting away, upsetting the nuns and priests even more. Chicagoist can't prove this, but we hope it ended in a standoff, with the graffiti busters staring down the priests, power washer nozzle to crucifix. The situation must have been that much better because most of the clergy only speak French.

Chicagoist needs help with something: we understand why they were upset about the vandalism, but wouldn't they welcome a little clean up? The graffiti busters might have been a little overzealous, but they were trying to be helpful. Cleaning them is "attacking God" too? And doesn't the church have rules about idolatry anyway?

UPDATE -- We missed this part, but part of the objection to cleaning the statues was that the vandalism hadn't been documented for insurance purposes. Too bad no one in the media photographed or filmed the damage.

Image courtesy of CBS 2 Chicago.