A Pilgrim Statue

Chicago Tribune reporter Rex W. Huppke, whose writing was featured in the very first post on God-of-Small Things, had a doozy of a story this past week.

It was on Carl Malburg, a former lumberjack whose current job is accompanying a 46-inch statue of the Virgin Mary -- the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima-- on it's journeys around the world.

It's a story that could have easily taken a sideshow approach or been condescending, but Huppke handles it with warmth, grace and good humor.

Here's a snippet:

A non-profit group in New Jersey called the Lay Apostolate Foundation oversees the statue and pays Malburg $36,000 a year.

Although the pay isn't much, Malburg quipped that there are perks: "They tell us we get retirement benefits, it's just that you get them right after you die instead of before."

It's nice to see when someone gets a story like this right.


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