If you visit Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on Miller Road, seek out the small chapel in the northwestern corner of the parish property. Within its walls rests Our Lady of Guadalupe, a statue of the Virgin Mary with deep connections to the church’s past, present, and future. Given to the church in 1945, the statue remained with the parish through its many growth spurts, travelling from the Old Adobe Mission to various places of honor on the Miller Road grounds, eventually settling in the small chapel.

The statue of Our Lady symbolizes many aspects of the Catholic faith: hope, devotion, and thanksgiving. Donated by local Scottsdale resident Guadalupe Dominguez at the end of World War II, the statue of the Virgin was born out of a mother’s hope for her son-in-law’s during the war and her gratitude when he returned home safely. Years later in 1953, church parishioners began a 13-year tradition of honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe with processions and an annual December pageant at Scottsdale High School. Behind the scenes, women worked on banners, costumes, props, and stage sets with Catholic pride and duty; young women performed in the pageant, one with the ultimate honor of representing Our Lady.

The gift of a mother, the statue also underlines the faith and work of women parishioners in Scottsdale’s Catholic community. Inspired by the values extolled by the Virgin Mary, women hold prominent places in Catholic culture as nuns, caregivers, teachers, and volunteers. The ladies of Our Lady of Perpetual Help are no exception: they played important roles in the leadership and fellowship activities of the parish since it began in 1933. After moving to Miller Road in the 1950s, the church operated a convent, established a women’s mission group, the Sodality of Our Lady, and founded a school with the help of the Sisters of Charity from Seton Hill, Pennsylvania.

Since February 1987, the statue in Our Lady’s chapel continues to be honored around the clock, each day of the year. From a mother’s prayer to pageants to perpetual adoration in her chapel, the statue of Our Lady is a constant reminder of women’s dedication and achievements within their Catholic faith community.

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Audio

The Statue of Our Lady
Written by Megan Keough; narrated by Joan Baron. Recorded at Scottsdale Channel 11; courtesy of the Papago Salado Association.
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