By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — St. Anthony Parish in Davenport has donated an icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Putnam Museum, which will include the icon and its accompanying shrine in a special exhibit next year.
Father Rudolph Juarez, pastor of St. Anthony Parish, said the icon, a copy of an image from circa 1931, originally belonged to St. Joseph Parish in Davenport. When the Hispanic community moved from St. Joseph Parish to St. Mary Parish in Davenport in 1999, they carried the icon in a procession to their new parish home, Father Juarez said.
Parishioners placed the Guadalupe icon in the sanctuary on the north side of St. Mary Church. Tom Chouteau, a member of the parish and a professor of art and art history at St. Ambrose University, carved a frame for the icon. The shrine’s altar remained behind at St. Joseph Church until it closed in 1999. Sacred Heart Cathedral acquired the shrine’s altar at that time because the cathedral also had a Hispanic community.
The Putnam Museum obtained the shrine’s altar from Sacred Heart Cathedral in 2013 for the Putnam’s exhibit “Mi Casa Nueva” that focused on the Hispanic community in the Quad-Cities, said Christina Kastell, curator of history and anthropology at the Putnam. “We were told the icon of the Virgin of Guadalupe was no longer with the shrine (altar).”
St. Joseph Church dedicated the altar that held the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1946, Father Juarez said. Last year, the Putnam learned that St. Anthony Parish, which merged with the former St. Mary Parish, had the icon.
“The Putnam called me to see if we would be willing to donate it on a permanent basis to the museum as part of an exhibition on the history of Hispanic presence in the Quad-Cities,” Father Juarez said. He agreed.
“The image is something we wanted to reunite with the shrine (altar) because the two needed to be together to have the impact and cultural identity it originally had,” Kastell said.
The altar/shrine requires restoration before it can go on exhibit, she said. The Guadalupe icon and altar/shrine will be installed in the permanent regional history gallery “River, Prairie and People” as part of an upgrade the Putnam is currently working on for completion in 2022.
“The exhibit is about all Quad-Citians and the Mexican Americans that are a very important part of community history,” Kastell said. “The artifacts being added to the exhibit will mostly represent cultures and events that are not documented well in the existing exhibit. We are excited to expand our knowledge of the history of the African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans and Middle Eastern Americans who are our neighbors here in the Quad Cities and we are collecting artifacts and images that represent everyone.”