House Shrine to Mary Sets Off Neighborhood Controversy

June 6, 2004

Source: The Boston Globe

On June 6, 2004 The Boston Globe reported, "Noel Dube was a 62-year-old commissary officer at Fort Devens the morning he says his prayers were interrupted in his backyard in Pepperell by the gentle voice of the Virgin Mary...What Dube did [in response] has evolved from a personal quest to a mission that has embroiled the whole community. He began with a humble quartet of ceramic statues of the Madonna and three children and went on to erect two billboard-sized murals, a series of life-sized paintings depicting the stations of the cross and most recently a 24-foot illuminated cross that shines an ethereal blue light into the night sky. In the 22 years since Dube heard that voice, neighbors have complained, local authorities have ordered the cross and the murals removed and the town of Pepperell has engaged in an increasingly heated debate about where the right to religious expression ends and the rights of a neighborhood begins."

See also: Christianity, Civic