By Pat McCormick
The statue of Sadako Susaki came to Loretto’s attention at Kathy Santopietro and Steve Weddel’s wedding in April 1995. The stunning bronze statue, created by Kathy’s brother-in-law, Jerry Boyle, was a wedding present. At the time I was a member of the Loretto Disarmament Economic Conversion Committee. Inspired by the gift I later conferred with committee members about commissioning Jerry to create a sculpture for Loretto.
By Aug. 1995 the Sadako statue became a hands-on educational story of history and peace. On Jan. 14, 1996 a Loretto celebration was held, including 1,000 cranes folded by our Catholic Worker friend, Jennifer Heines, while in prison for a prayer witness against nuclear weapons production at Rocky Flats.
After the celebration the statue and the book “ Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” by Eleanor Coerr began the journey of peace across the United States to schools, homes and elder centers, as well as to small and large peace gatherings. The five-year journey ended when Cecily Jones and I drove Sadako to the Motherhouse.
On Aug. 6, 2000, the 55th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Kate Misbuaer, director of Loretto Archives, stood the statue in a place of honor where to this day Sadako symbolizes, “This is my cry, this is my prayer, peace in the world.”
By Mary Ann McGivern
In 2012 the Loretto Assembly established the Peace Committee in place of the Loretto Disarmament Economic Conversion Committee. Everyone on the new committee remembered the Sadako statue but no one knew where it was. Sadako was presumed lost.
Then this past summer the Motherhouse reformed its Peace Committee that included Pat McCormick. The Loretto Peace Committee had met in Los Alamos to protest nuclear weapons and had decided there to promote “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,” sadly commenting that the statue was lost. No, said Pat when she heard the committee report at the Motherhouse Peace Committee meeting. Look in the archives!
Archivist Reba Weatherford proudly showed it off and said it is available to the Community. Sometimes, she said, materials are archived too soon. If you would like to display Sadako in a classroom or at a meeting, contact me. My email address is [email protected]