St. Jude's is fortunate to have some beautiful antique statuary to beautify our parish home. While we are still exploring the origins of our statuary and attempting to learn more about when they were purchased and by whom, we do know that at least one of them is pictured in the oldest known picture of the interior of St. Jude's which is believed to date from the mid to late 1930s. It is likely that all of our statues were purchased at the same time and, as such, it is likely that all of them were in place prior to the late 1930s.
St. Jude's statues include St. Jude Thaddeus, St. Therese, St. Aloysius, St. Anthony, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Queen of Heaven. A maker's mark was discovered on the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which led us to a company by the name of Daprato Rigali Studios. Following consultation with Daprato Rigali, it is highly likely that all of our statues were created by this 160+ year old family company. Based on the 1920 Daprato Rigali catalog, it appears that our statues were likely purchased during the 1920s, if not earlier, and would have cost between $80 and $146 at the time, though they are without a doubt worth considerably more today. Unusually for their age, our statues are all in pristine condition.
Daprato Statuary was founded in 1860 in Chicago, Illinois by the four DaPrato brothers, American immigrants from the Tuscan town of Barga, Italy. They were statue-makers. They were later joined by their younger cousin, John E. Rigali, a prodigy statue carver. John Rigali would eventually suggest that the business switch from making novelty statuettes to supplying churches with altars and statues. In 1890 he became President of the firm and oversaw its growth into a worldwide ecclesiastical art producer and distributor. In the late 1800’s Daprato Statues and other furnishings set the standard for religious art around the world. By 1917, Daprato Statuary Company operated locations in Chicago, New York, Montreal, Canada, and in Pietrasanta, Italy, near the famous Italian Carrara Marble Quarry, which is still a source for many of their marble projects today. The company then evolved into managing complete church interior decorations. In 1909, the studios received the title of “Pontifical Institute of Christian Art”, an honor bestowed by His Holiness Pope St. Pius X. In 1960 the organization took on a new name, Daprato Rigali Studios. Daprato Rigali Studios remains a family business and continues to provide artistic church decoration and statuary throughout the country.
Many thanks to the very helpful Daprato Rigali family for their assistance in tracking down the origins of our statuary.