Our Lady of Help (or of Relief)

Rio Negro, Brazil

From: Ayrton Gonçalves Celestino, Os Bucovinos do Brasil (Curitiba, Brazil, 2002), p. 48

The photo, taken by Werner Zoglauer, represents the religious tradition of the Bukovinian families who immigrated to Brazil. It is a statuette of Our Lady of Help, which originated in the Bohemian Forest and was brought to Brazil by the Adolf Wolf family in 1877. Although destined for settlement in São Bento do Sul (State of Santa Catarina), the family in 1885 later moved to Rio Negro (State of Paraná, Brazil)

The statuette, approximately 40 cm. tall, was sculpted by an unknown artist from a whole block of wood in 1777 and still shows evidence of its original paint. The mother of the household was always in charge of the statuette, which was at first kept in a small chapel. Oral tradition has it that the mother passed the statuette on to one of her daughters, who would pass it on to her daughter in turn. Maria Six Wolf, Adolf’s wife, who had brought the statuette from the Bohemian Forest to Brazil, gave it to her daughter Tereza Wolf, who married Wenzel Seidl, and Tereza passed it on to her daughter Verônica Seidl, the wife of Wenceslau Amador Henning. In the absence of daughter, Verônica gave the statuette to her only son, Estanislau Seidl Henning, who has it in his home to the present day.

This artistic piece has been treated against insect damage and submitted for restoration to the Preservation Section of the Department of Historical and Cultural Legacy under the Secretary of Culture for the State of Paraná in Curitiba, where it has been duly registered and classified as an artifact of historical and cultural significance.

For many years the Bukovinians of Rio Negro have displayed the statuette and shown devotion to Our Lady of Help at their solemn religious ceremonies as did their forebears in Europe from time immemorial.