Following copied in its entirety from original article [with edits] from:

Picture of Immaculate Conception Parish from the Archdiocese of Detroit Archives

Recently, it came to our attention that the design of the Immaculate Mother was very unique. However, since the statues were a gift, the parish didn’t have any documentation on its origins or sculptor.  Thus began a very lengthy search for information!

First, we found pictures of the original statue on the altar of Immaculate Conception, both from the Library of Congress and the Archdiocesan archives.   In them, you can see the two angels holding large candles on either side of the Mary statue.  However, neither source had information on sculptor.

It took help from the Polish Art Center in Hamtramck and Robert Strybel to identify the statues’ creator.  Joanna Torchala, curator of the Kwawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture identified the statue.

Immaculata in St. Hyacinth

The Mary statue is called “Immaculata” (the Immaculate). It was created by Paul Maximilen Landowski (1875-1961).  [Biography] The statue is dated around 1930.  A reduced form (usually around 18”) is sold in bronze at art auctions.

The name Landowski probably doesn’t ring a bell, but you certainly are familiar with his work.  His most famous work is the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  He also contributed to the Reformation Wall in Geneva, Switzerland.

Born in 1826, Landowski grew up in Paris, France.  He began gaining notoriety as sculptor in 1900 when he won a major competition with a statue of King David from the Old Testament.  It’s unclear how he became to be the sculptor of Immaculate Conception’s altar statues, but the date of the Immaculata coincides with the creation of the Christ the Redeemer statue.

In 1981, Fr. Skalski received three statues from Immaculate Conception before it was demolished to make room for  the GM Hamtramck plant.  This was a very controversial closure, as was the entire land acquisition for the Poletown Plant. Many people people were unwillingly displaced as the City of Detroit and GM selected the site, much of which contained a very viable neighborhood, churches, businesses and even a hospital.

There was a dedicated group of parishioners that took up residence in the church to try and prevent it from being demolished. They were finally evicted by the police. The statue was brought to Saint Hyacinth Parish for safekeeping by Father Joe Karasiewicz, the pastor of Immaculate Conception. Father Skalski, then pastor of Saint Hyacinth had one of the confesionnals converted into a side altar to display the statue of Mary.

Enjoy these pictures of the Mary statue that we’ve collected!


The Marian Shrine at St. Hyacinth

Immaculate Conception Detroit - Altar - Hoffman Studios, n.d
Immaculate Conception Parish courtesy of Hoffman Studies and the Archdiocese Archives

Immaculate Conception Detroit - Interior - Hoffman Studios, n
Immaculate Conception Parish courtesy of Hoffman Studies and the Archdiocese Archives

Immaculate Conception Detroit - Interior, n.d
Immaculate Conception Parish courtesy of the Archdiocese Archives

Following copied in its entirety from:

Other Poletown pictures at