Sudbury·Audio

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto gets graffiti removal help from Sudbury firm

A local business is offering to remove graffiti from a Sudbury landmark that was built as a place of peaceful reflection.
The Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto near downtown Sudbury was meant to be a place of peaceful reflection, but vandals have hit the grotto with graffiti. David Sirois speaks for the Diocese of Sault Ste Marie. He spoke to the CBC's Kate Rutherford. 4:26

A local business is offering to remove graffiti from a Sudbury landmark that was built as a place of peaceful reflection.

There is nothing serene about Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Fountain after it was defaced late last month.

The financial administrator with the Diocese of Sault Ste Marie, which is responsible for the Sudbury property, said vandals wrote profanities in black spray paint on the fountain.
Vandals used black spray paint on the fountain in the Grotto located in downtown Sudbury. A city cleaning firm has stepped forward to remove it, at no cost to the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie. (Kate Rutherford/CBC)

And now, David Sirois said, visitors feel uncomfortable.

“Also individuals [who] had planned on going to take some wedding pictures … couldn't, after seeing what the site looked like after those damages,” he said.

That bride ended up calling a local business called Dr. Clean, where Jeanne Bradley is the vice president of sales.

Bradley said the tearful bride made an impression on her — especially since Bradley’s son had his wedding pictures taken at the Grotto.

“So we know it's a beautiful site and we have wonderful souvenirs when we look at those pictures.”

Bradley said her company can remove the black spray paint, not just cover it.

The company will get a receipt from the Diocese for the cost of the cleaning materials for tax purposes, but the job is essentially being done for free.

It’s a relief for Sirois, who said the Grotto is maintained entirely through donations.

The clean-up was to begin on Tuesday.

Sirois said the Grotto and the fountain inside are meant to serve as an oasis in the city.

“So people can just go there and relax and reflect on different things,” he said.

“The idea is that people who don't go to church regularly can connect with Jesus or with God.”

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