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'This is our family treasure,' Le Mieux descendants react to chapel vandalism

Le Mieux Chapel
Posted at 10:35 PM, Apr 26, 2024

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — The Shrine of Saint Anthony of Padua at UW-Green Bay was vandalized late Thursday evening, according to UW-Green Bay police.

Le Mieux Chapel
Le Mieux

The Le Mieux Chapel, located in the Cofrin Arboretum, is nearly 100 years old.

UWGB police said three juveniles vandalized the area Thursday evening.

The vandalism included a decapitated Virgin Mary statue, broken windows in the chapel and damage to statues inside.

Le Mieux chapel vandalized
Le Mieux chapel vandalized
Le Mieux chapel vandalized
Le Mieux chapel vandalized

When they heard the news, Liz Bell and her sister Laura drove from Two Rivers to assess the damage.

“We were devastated when we heard about it," Bell said.

Bell is a descendant of Odile Le Mieux, who originally had the chapel built in 1925.

UWGB acquired the chapel in 1984, but Le Mieux's descendants still take care of it.

“Everybody works really hard to keep it up, and it's 100 years old and it still is beautiful," Bell said.

Police said they’ve identified the three young people involved in the incident, and are still actively investigating.

One officer told NBC 26 that police do not believe the vandalization was motivated by the chapel's religious significance.

Bell said the family leaves the chapel unlocked so the community can enjoy it

"People all come across it and think it's old and abandoned...and the university students all have lore that there's a ghost in it and stuff like that... but they don't know the real story. And the real story is it's still very lovingly taken care of," Bell said.

Bell said the chapel and shrine were just recently renovated, but after this incident, their family is already planning repairs.

"This is our family treasure," Bell said.

The family collects donations for its upkeep through a Facebook page, and the UWGB websitesays people can donate through the University Advancement Office.