Story by SheriLynne Hansen
(SNR) – When Carolyn Ann Bohy of Sacred Heart Parish in Lincoln died in September, she left an extensive collection of saint statues to the Diocese of Lincoln.
Wayne Bohy, her husband of 51 years, said, “My wife was a great one to pray to the saints. She had a prayer to every one of them.”
The pair had collected 100 or more statues of saints for many years, procuring most of them on various pilgrimages. They frequently traveled with Mrs. Bohy’s brother Jim Franssen and his wife, owners of Nebraska Church Goods. Both siblings enjoyed buying statues of saints, particularly ones that were less common.
“We went to Medjugorje and bought some. We went to Rome and Assisi and Lourdes and Fatima, and we bought some there,” Mr. Bohy recounted. “We went down to EWTN a couple different times, too.”
With their children, Robb and Theresa, grown and raising families of their own, the Bohys slowly filled their five-bedroom house with these three-dimensional images of the Communion of Saints.
“In one of the bedrooms, we bought these bookshelf things, and the statues were in the bookshelves until they got full,” Mr. Bohy said. “I have some that have never been out of the box.”
After his wife’s passing, he went to the chancery to see where the statues could go to inspire others.
Seven statues are now at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, including one depicting the Holy Family’s Flight to Egypt, which is already installed in the recently-added wing.
Father Jeffrey Eickhoff, rector of the seminary, also chose a statue of St. Francis to give to the Franciscan sisters who reside at the seminary. They have served the Lincoln Diocese since 1992 and the seminary since 1998.
There is also a matching set of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica – saints who were brother and sister – and one of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. These will be placed in various niches throughout the seminary.
The School Sisters of Christ the King received a beautiful – and rare – statue of Christ the King that is considerably larger than their previous model. Several more statues were placed around the motherhouse, and a few were given to others based on the Holy Spirit’s prompting that these individuals would be blessed by the gift.
St. Peter School in Lincoln received several statues, as well. A statue of Jesus, the Good Shepherd was placed in the preschool room, where the children learn about Jesus via the “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd” curriculum. Second-graders who are now preparing to receive their first Holy Communion in the spring are under the watchful eye of a statue of the Blessed Mother cradling the Christ Child, who holds a chalice and a host.
Statues of the three archangels, and a matched pair of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary have been placed in the school’s meeting room.
“It really gives that room a Catholic feel,” stated Sister Mary Michael, C.K., principal of St. Peter School.
She noted that teaching the students about the communion of saints fosters a family attitude about the Church and our collective spiritual life.
“It just brings all the people a little bit closer,” she said.
The statues have been a beautiful addition to both her school and the motherhouse.
“They were very well kept,” Sister Mary Michael said. “We love them!”
Mr. Bohy has also been giving statues to family members and close friends. He’s down to about 25 statues, which he moved into his living room until some individuals can come over to choose their favorites. The Marian Sisters will receive the remainder.
Mrs. Bohy also spent a great deal of time making rosaries. She made knotted cord rosaries, which a friend from St. Stephen Parish in Exeter received for an ongoing rosary project, and beaded rosaries, which their son-in-law took to the Marian Sisters.
“We had boxes and boxes of them,” Mr. Bohy said. “Sister said, ‘We’d be 10 years making all these up.’”
He said that he and his family find great comfort in thinking of his wife taking her place with the Communion of Saints. Her handiwork in hundreds and hundreds of rosaries and her devotion shown in the many saint statues she personally selected can now inspire many other people.
“That’s what we are hoping for anyway,” Mr. Bohy said, his voice swelling with emotion. “Give some comfort to somebody, and joy.”