Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Retreat Center’s director spots, recovers stolen statuary

by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the Nov. 13, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

Statute stolen, recoveredOne of the pieces stolen from Immaculate Heart Retreat Center was this figure from the Fatima tableaux. The stolen items have been recovered. (IR photo from IHRC)

Deacon John Ruscheinsky, director at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center in Spokane, could not keep the joy out of his voice. The five statues and the plow stolen from the center in mid-October had been found and returned to their rightful places.

“I spotted the plow at an antique store in Spokane when I was driving by,” Deacon Ruscheinsky said. The day was Nov. 1, the feast of All Saints. “I immediately called the police and we went to the shop. The statues were in the back yard.”

Deacon Ruscheinsky said they were told the shop had purchased the items from someone who said they were from an estate.

The stolen statues included the three children from the Fatima display in the Rosary Terrace and the two sheep from the St. Joseph the Worker display near the center’s entrance. The plow was also in the St. Joseph display. Deacon Ruscheinsky noticed the statues’ disappearance Wednesday, Oct. 17. The plow disappeared Oct. 29. The police investigation is continuing. The theft is a felony, since the replacement value of the statues is $16,800.

The statues have a historical significance. They were placed on the grounds in 1960 by IHRC’s founding director, Msgr. David Rosage of Spokane. Msgr. Rosage began the retreat center in 1959, dedicated to the Mohter of God. He placed the statues as an honor to his own mother as well.

One effect of the theft is that the center’s grounds may not be so open and accessible as before. Deacon Ruscheinsky said they would now be looking into security measures.

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