Our Lady of the Rockies
If you happen to be pulling into Butte, Montana at night time and look to the mountains in the east you will likely see a glowing figure high up on the mountainside. This glowing statue is known as Our Lady of the Rockies. She has a unique history and is a symbol honoring women everywhere. While the past does hold controversy about Our Lady, Butte citizens have pride in their unique addition to the mountains of western Montana.
Who She Is
Across town from the Montana Connections Business Development Park, Our Lady of the Rockies is a 90-foot tall statue that was built to resemble Mary, Mother of Jesus, but is dedicated to all women regardless of religion or beliefs. Standing 8,500 feet above sea level on private land on the Continental Divide, Our Lady is the third largest statue in the United States. She weighs over 80 tons and is made out of steel.
Where She Came From
A celebration of Irish culture and heritage, the An Rí Rá Montana Irish Festival takes place annually in August. Drawing in people from all over the United States, it is considered one of the best Irish festivals and it’s easy to see why. This Irish festival boasts a variety of arts and craft vendors, Irish dance performances and classes, traditional Irish cuisine, and more. Founded by the Montana Gaelic Cultural Society, this festival keeps the Gaelic culture and language well and alive in Montana.
What She Stands for Today
Visitors and Butte community members alike can take a tour to see Our Lady of the Rockies up close. Hop on one of the multiple buses that head up the mountain during the summer and ride the two-hour round trip bus ride to visit her – you can even go inside! Along with visiting the statue herself, you can also visit the observatory/chapel where weddings are held. The outer walls of the basement of the chapel are Memorial Walls meant to honor all women and mothers. The Memorial Wall has over 15,000 name tiles and accepts submissions of any deceased woman’s name. Butte is well known for its attitude of hard work and perseverance through trial, and Our Lady of the Rockies and the story of how she was built represents these ideas well. The history of Butte is fascinating and full of interesting stories; check out another one in this article about how the Irish shaped Butte.
Featured image from Roadtrippers.