Sculptor Restoring Children’s Burial Monument Damaged by Tornado

HONESDALE, Pa. -- A tornado earlier this year badly damaged a statue of an angel in a Catholic cemetery in Honesdale.

The statue was dedicated to hundreds of children who were buried there in the 1800s. Now, it's being fixed.

"It was missing this hand up here, so this I made as well and rejoined it with the rest of the statue," Sculptor Kevin Duffy said.

Duffy pointed out the work he's done to restore the angel statue at St. Mary Magdalene Cemetery in Honesdale. The angel was damaged in May when a tornado touched down in parts of Wayne County.

Duffy, who is from Boston, was in the borough in June when friends here told him about the broken angel. Duffy reached out to the pastor of St. John the Evangelist parish, which owns the angel, and offered to fix it.

Duffy says he wanted to do the job after learning the statue is a monument dedicated to the 400 children who were buried there between 1859 to 1889.

"We knew the angel had been damaged, and I did ask if the angel was going to be repaired, and they assured me that it was," said Dorothy Keiff.

Keiff is the historian for the parish and has been doing research on the children who are buried there.

"One family has as many as five children there, babies. I don't know what the cut-off age was, but five babies buried there. There's four other families that have four children there," Keiff said.

The sculptor says he's made monuments for children before but was particularly touched by the number of children buried here.

"I'm just kind of overwhelmed that so many children died in the span of 30 years in what must have been a very small town in the 19th century. I can't imagine there were more than two or 3,000 people here, and to lose that many children in that span of time," Duffy said.

Repair costs are being covered by donated funds. The parish plans to rededicate the restored angel on October 2 after the noon Mass.

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