While one may expect this sculpture to remain in Italy, it has called Canada home for over 150 years. In 1856, it was transported to St. John’s in Newfoundland, where it was received by Bishop John Thomas Mullock and placed in the Episcopal Palace next to St. John’s Basilica.
In his diary, Mullock praised his new acquisition: “Received safely from Rome, a beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in marble, by Strazza,” he wrote. “The face is veiled, and the figure and features are all seen. It is a perfect gem of art.”
Its relocation was also enthusiastically documented by a local newspaper, The Newfoundlander. “To say that this representation surpasses in perfection of art, any piece of sculpture we have ever seen, conveys but weakly our impression of its exquisite beauty,” the article reads. “The possibility of such a triumph of the chisel had not before entered into our conception. Ordinary language must ever fail to do justice to a subject like this – to the rare artistic skill, and to the emotions it produces in the beholder.”
In 1862, it was moved to the nearby Presentation Convent, where it has remained—and captivated—ever since.