Restoration St. Eustatius church

November 20, 2023 2:02 am

The ongoing restoration of the St. Eustatius Roman Catholic Church reached a new milestone with the installation of a set of terracotta Stations of the Cross that had been waiting for fourteen years to be put on the church’s walls. The set of fourteen stations, made by a Dutch artist, were a gift to the church organized by Mrs. Elly Hellebrand who was an active member of the church of St. Eustatius and a valued singer in the choir when the family lived on Statia. Her son, current Second Chamber candidate for the BBB party Walter Hellebrand, facilitated the funding for the restoration of the church while he was Director of Monuments in St. Eustatius.

Stations of the Cross in Roman Catholic churches depict fourteen moments of the passion and death of Jesus Christ. The church of Mrs. Hellebrand’s parish in her current home town in the Netherlands was being pulled down and she decided the stations would make a great asset for the church of her former parish on St. Eustatius. They are made from terracotta (a kind of ceramic material) and cannot be damaged by the climate or insects and are therefore perfect for Statia’s church.

The stations were created by Dutch artist Ulrich Manders who received the inspiration to make them when he was told that because of his illness he did not have long left to live. Mrs. Hellebrand contacted her friend on Statia, the late Elisabeth Berkel, and together they arranged for the works of art to be shipped to Statia.

The church was included – along with the 18th century building of the former daycare center next to the church – in the Monuments Inventory that was put together by Mrs. Hellebrand’s son Walter and presented to the Government of Statia in 2009. In 2011, when he was Monuments Director on the island, he listed them amongst the first registered monuments of St. Eustatius. In the latter capacity, in 2018 Hellebrand also organized the application for a restoration loan for the church from the revolving fund of the National Restoration Fund. This loan is now being used and the grand opening of the restored church is scheduled for December 3rd with the bishop attending for the accession.

Walter Hellebrand moved to the Netherlands at the end of 2021 because of serious issues with ZVK (now ZJCN) and is currently standing in the 22 November elections for the Second Chamber of the Kingdom as number 49 on list 15 of the BBB party.