Statue of Virgin Mary in Champagnat Stolen

Country: France

Date of incident: March 7, 2018

Category: Social Hostility / Intolerance

Attack against: Faith

Area of case: Private

The statue of Virgin Mary in an oratory in Champagnat was torn from its base and stolen on the eve of International Women's Day. An explanatory note was left by the vandals, saying that Mary did not want to remain behind an iron gate, surrounded by plastic flowers and peeling paint, but wished to "withdraw to meditate on the state of the sacred feminine" and that she would return.

The son of Brigitte Ratinet, the oratory’s owner, discovered the missing relic and alerted the authorities. According to Ratinet, the small oratory's gates were broken open, and the meter-tall Virgin was torn from its base. 

While some villagers were amused by the incident, others called it irresponsible and hurtful.

The religious statue was installed after a village-wide procession in 1953. 

Sources: La Montagne and France Bleu

Symbolic photo: By Morburre, CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons