CENTRALIA, Wash. -- Police spent Ash Wednesday looking for a religious statue stolen from a sacred place.
The sun came out for the Ash Wednesday service at Providence Centralia Hospital. But something is missing inside at the chapel.
"She was bolted down with very large bolts that were underneath," said Cathy Johnston, manager of Spiritual Care.
Monday, employees noticed their statue of the Virgin Mary had been stolen. The two-foot tall ceramic piece looked a lot like the one across the chapel of Joseph.
"Same manufacturers...same artist...same style...same size," said Johnston.
Joseph was left behind after the crooks broke it, while trying to pry it loose.
"Either they were interrupted or they didn't like the condition they created for him," said Johnston.
There's now a void in a sacred part of the hospital used by patients, their family members and staff seeking a quiet private place.
"While we may not always be able to cure everybody, we want to offer a space where healing takes place," said Vice President of Mission Angela Wolle.
Police think someone looking for quick cash likely sold the statue to an antique collector. The hospital staff feels violated, but they're not angry.
"Who needed something in this space...what was going on in that person's mind? What brought them to a place where they needed the presence of Mary or Joseph for whatever reason?" said Wolle.
And while they're ready to forgive they won't just forget about what they lost.
"We just want our Mary back. They can bring her to the information desk at the front and we will welcome her home," said Johnston.
If the statue does not turn up soon the hospital plans on buying some new statues of Joseph and Mary.