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Wed July 25, 2012
Baraga statue erected in Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS, MI-- A sculpture of a 19th century bishop known for his work in the Upper Peninsula and West Michigan has been unveiled in Grand Rapids.
The 7 1/2-foot bronze sculpture of Frederic Baraga was revealed Tuesday outside St. Andrew's Cathedral at Piazza Secchia. The Peter F. Secchia Family Foundation commissioned it as part of a series honoring figures in area history.
In 1833, Baraga established a mission in what's now Grand Rapids. In May, Roman Catholic leaders said the Vatican declared Baraga "venerable," meaning he's recognized for a life of heroic virtue. It's the first step in the process toward sainthood.
Baraga is known as the "snowshoe priest." He spent 23 years among Indians and settlers and became the Marquette Diocese's first bishop in 1857. He died in 1868.