St. Mary-Oak Ridge dedicates Guadalupe statue

Sister Marie Blanchette, OP, principal of St.
Mary School in Oak Ridge, and Father Dustin Collins stand before the new statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

St. Mary Church and School in Oak Ridge celebrated Mass on Sept. 13 with a special blessing and dedication of a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The statue from Mexico was donated by Tomás and Bertalilia Léon of St. Mary Church in Jackson, Tenn.

Sister Mary Rebekah, OP, middle school religion and history teacher, maintains a relationship with the Léon family from her previous teaching role at St. Mary School in Jackson. She said, “The Léon family has always graciously supported the efforts of the Dominican Sisters.”

In preparation for the special day, members of the Knights of Columbus made an “Ark of the Covenant” to carry the statue from the church to the school. After Mass, the statue was mounted by the Knights of Columbus honor guard as the entire congregation processed through the school to the main entry foyer for a dedication and placing of flowers at Our Lady’s feet. More than 250 parishioners and guests continued the celebration in the gym with food and live music.

Sister Marie Blanchette, OP, principal of St. Mary School described the moment: “It was a day rich in God’s blessings. It was beautiful to see the whole parish come together to honor the Mother of God. The devotion and love for Our Lady were tangible. From now on when someone walks in the doors of St. Mary’s School, the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe will serve as a reminder of the love Mary and her Son have for each of us. What a blessing to our school and parish community!”

For more information about St. Mary School, call 865-483-9700 or visit

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