Click above to watch this video of Mic Carlson creating the Madonna of the Streets for the Garden of Life
In the fall of 2012, my husband purchased an empty lot for me as an anniversary gift. To most that probably seems like an odd gift! But the lot is located at 659 Bridge Street in Grand Rapids, next door to HELP Pregnancy Crisis Aid where I have been a volunteer for many years. The lot had been for sale for some time and I was concerned about what kind of business might go in the space. Instead of a tattoo parlor or convenience store, I envisioned a beautiful green space that would be an ideal place for prayer and gathering as well as additional parking.
John and I have now completed a beautiful rosary garden on the lot called “Garden of Life”. The rosary is such a powerful prayer and prayer is our best weapon in defending life. All will be able to enjoy the garden and come to pray for life and for the end to abortion.
Mic Carlson, an area sculptor, created a beautiful bronze Madonna and Child as the centerpiece of the garden; the statue looks much like one of my favorite paintings “The Madonna of the Streets” by Robert Ferruzzi. Friends have generously donated their time including Wayne Visbeen, who created the initial drawings to provide a starting point, and John Kraus who analyzed the lot in fine detail. James Nachtegall, a young man from our parish, Immaculate Heart of Mary, took on the rosary portion of the garden as his Eagle Scout project. Matt Ertzinger from Landscape Design coordinated the entire project and did a fabulous job!
On a beautiful day in November, about 400 people gathered as Father Troy Nevins blessed and dedicated the Garden of life. It was late in the season when the garden was finished so we are anxious to see what will bloom this spring! Soon the mysteries will be mounted on five posts along the rosary path. We will be adding more plants and flowers, keeping to the red, white, purple and yellow color scheme to compliment the mysteries. Kirk Morris, an area builder, has agreed to build a grotto for our statue of Jesus and The Children, giving it a permanent home in the garden. We will also be adding a prayer wall along the west side, next to the HELP building.
We have surrounded the rosary beads (aggregate paving stones) with bricks to create a path wide enough to accommodate strollers and wheelchairs. To offset some of the many costs, we continue to sell engraved bricks through a program at Belden Brick. We hope that you will purchase a brick in the memory of a loved one or to honor someone special. As long as the message is life affirming, it may say whatever you like.
Click here to download Order Form.
Any financial gift to the garden is NOT tax deductible because it is privately owned. Also, we do not want any donations that would usually be sent to HELP. They need your financial support for their important ministry and we do not want to impact that in any way. However, if you make your check payable to “HELP – Garden Brick”, they will process your check as a donation and you will be allowed a tax deduction.
Thank you for your interest in the Garden of Life!
Grand Rapids sculptor Mic Carlson entered this original sculpture in Art Prize 2012. The Madonna of the Streets had a great location, right by the fountain at the Gerald Ford Museum! The beautiful bronze Madonna and Child has been permanently installed as the centerpiece of the Garden of Life.