Mysteries of Mary continue to intrigue all graced by her presence


The Crusader staff

Reno Taini ’59 donated his time to beautify the Mary statue.

Steven Rissotto '20, Editor-In-Chief

The story of the Mary statue is one like any other when it comes to folk tales around campus. Located in the courtyard, the statue has many different meanings. However, the historical value it has carries more stock.

The Immaculate Conception sculpture has been in the Riordan courtyard for 65 years. In 1957, Gaspare Taini sprang into action when an earthquake struck. Taini was the school’s gardener and his son, Reno, was a sophomore at the time of the quake.

The statue survived the jolt, but just barely. Tilted to the side, the elder Taini grabbed Reno and went to find a way to prop it back up.

This May, in preparation for the restoration, the junipers that surrounded the statue were removed, and during the summer, lilies that Gespare planted decades ago sprouted up.

Reno, who taught at Jefferson High School for about 40 years, recently came on campus to clean up the dated statue. He and V Fontana & Co. teamed up to power wash and hand scrub the moss and dirt that had taken up residence on the statue.

Along with the new look, a plaque will be installed to honor Reno’s father. The wording is still being worked out and will be a key part of the next phase.

“It has always been a focal point of the school, and I wanted to make sure it remained a focal point,” Reno Taini said. “It was put here for a new, young Riordan. Now, generations will continue to enjoy it.”

Now that the snake scales under Mary’s feet are clear and visible, the search for the creator is underway. The Crusader is currently undergoing an investigation to figure out who the artist is. Records show that the statue comes from Italy, and is made from Carrara marble. In 1954, it was placed at Riordan to celebrate the centennial of the definition of the Immaculate Conception and the Marianist year. The rest is unknown.

Taini said, “Boy, I’d sure love to know who the creator was and connect with their family.”