October 19, 2012

Casual Friday: Our Lady of the Rockies and the Shape of Montana Christian Ecuminism

Earlier this summer, during a cross country road trip we pulled into Butte, Montana. I noticed right away (how could I miss it) a giant statue of what I took to be Jesus, with outstretched arms, overlooking the valley, positioned on the top of a mountain ridge in the eastern side of the valley. It made me think of the Cristo Redentor statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro, though on a slightly smaller scale. A brochure in the hotel lobby, however, explained that the sculpture is not Jesus but is the Virgin Mary, dubbed Our Lady of the Rockies.

I took it to be a sign of the prevalence of Catholicism in Montana, but the pamphlet from our hotel lobby described it as a nondenominational expression of Christian faith. Still, it seems like a rather Catholic expression of nondenominational Christian faith. Anyone more familiar with the religious landscape of Montana who can speak to this?

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