Loyola University Chicago

Ignatian Heritage Month

Wounded Angel Statue

(Note: This story originally appeared in the January/February 2011 edition of Inside Loyola.)

Those wandering the Lake Shore Campus in Fall 2010 may have noticed the “Wounded Angel” sculpture located on the west side of Madonna della Strada Chapel. We wondered about the significance of the statue, so we reached out to Father Garanzini to learn more about the piece and how it ended up at Loyola.

Was the statue commissioned specifically for Loyola?

No, the statue was originally purchased by an art collector and then placed in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London. We eventually purchased the statue (for a minimal price) and brought it to the Lake Shore Campus. It was a wonderful opportunity for us, as the artist, Emily Young, is now very well known, and we would not be in a position to buy one of her pieces now.

What’s the story behind the statue? What does it represent?

The inspiration for and decision to place the sculpture in a garden and use it as a memorial to the martyrs of the war in El Salvador—especially those Jesuits and their cook and her daughter—came from a discussion in November 2009, around the 20th anniversary of their slayings. We felt that a memorial to these martyrs was appropriate for our campus because these Jesuits led extraordinary lives and did some bold and courageous things in their fight for the people of that Central American country. Their willingness to support those being victimized and killed led to their own murders and the murders of their cook and housekeeper.

The statue should serve as a reminder that many innocent people were murdered because of the forces of repression and hate that dominated the political and social landscape in El Salvador during the civil war. Unfortunately, the United States contributed to the war by training young Salvadoran soldiers and officers to turn on their fellow citizens and anyone who advocated for a share in the land and other social justice matters. In all, many thousands of innocent people were caught up and senselessly tortured or killed, and some were radicalized in ways that deprived them of their innocence.

Does the statue’s location on campus (near Madonna della Strada) have any specific meaning?

We felt that it was important to have the statue near the chapel, and more importantly, on a path that most students take each day.