Catherine Piantigini has probably seen most of Somerville’s yard shrines, but there’s one on the Medford line that’s her favorite. Our Lady of Grace stands in a blue-and-white bathtub, her arms open in welcome. The paint is chipped, and Mary’s gaze is cast down as if she’s lost in thought. Someone’s written “MPB 1975” in the concrete at her feet.
Part of the reason Piantigini loves this shrine is personal; she remembers being here in Somerville in 1975. “But it’s also very beautiful,” she says. “It’s understated, but beautiful.”
To Piantigini, the statues scattered throughout the city’s yards are more than just religious objects or lawn kitsch. They tell a story about immigration and home ownership, class and identity, that’s part of the city’s heritage.