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Northern Kentucky church’s search for nameless sailor under Mary statue

Marietta Echlin, 67, holds a picture of her son, Evan.  Marietta placed the image under a statue of the Virgin Mary at St. Henry Catholic Church in 2006 after he joined the Navy. The picture was recently discovered during a refurbishing of the statue.

In early March, staff at St. Henry Catholic Church in Elsmere hoisted a statue of the Virgin Mary out of the place of worship to be cleaned and repaired.

The ordinary routine would soon become the talk of this Northern Kentucky congregation.

Mary's departure revealed she had been concealing a picture of a Navy sailor under her base. No one knew who the sailor was, when it was placed there, or if he survived.  

“We don’t know if it was last year or years ago,” a church bulletin read. “Does anyone know who this is?”

A parishioner, Kenny Bodner, then called his longtime friends Marietta, 67 and Tom Echlin, 66.

“Marietta, you won’t believe what happened."

Growing up

The Echlins moved from Michigan to Kentucky when Marietta was six months pregnant in the early '80s.


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