Blessed Mary: Local woman repaints treasured statues

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 22, 2023

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LAPLACE — When Mary Simon of LaPlace was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, she spent a lot of time attending Father David’s healing Masses across the river in Luling and opening her heart in prayer to the Blessed Mother.

Today, Simon is cancer-free. As she sits on her porch, she uses acrylic paint to bring new life to beautiful Blessed Mary statues for friends and family, and members of the community. Each statue is a reminder that she never once walked alone through her cancer treatment.

“I prayed a lot to the Blessed Mother, and I thought it was a good way to repay her because I believe she had a lot to do with my healing. That’s why I never want payment. This is my repayment to her,” Simon said. “I enjoy doing it, especially when I get the old statues in and I can make them come back to life.”

Simon has always enjoyed painting ceramics. It was a hobby she picked up alongside her sisters years ago as they worked through the grief of losing their mother, but between life and raising children, painting fell to the wayside.

She started painting again at the request of her son, who had some statues by his pool that needed to be spruced up. Since Simon started painting the Blessed Mary statues, most of her work has come from friends and family. However, the most dear to her heart are the statues that come from members of the community who trust her whole-heartedly after hearing about her painting through word of mouth.

The condition of the statue determines how long it takes to paint, and the weather also plays a factor. Most jobs are done within a couple of weeks to a month.

“I like to prime the statues first after I clean them up and do any repairs I can,” Simon said. “I can’t do a miracle, but I do the best I can to make them look the best. I would love to get more in from anyone who needs help with a statue.”

Simon can be reached at 504-559-6243. She will never charge for helping paint a statue, and her only stipulation is that the statue is transported to her home.

Catholic faith has always been a guiding factor in Simon’s life. Long before she started painting Blessed Mary statues, she and her late husband, Joseph, were known for assembling extravagant St. Joseph’s Altars. Each year, the altar would be dedicated to someone in their family who had passed away, and proceeds would be donated to a charity. One year, more than one thousand visitors were drawn to the altar, which included Italian music, bags of cookies, and a homemade meal.