How Irish immigrants created sacred spaces

Since March 1, figurines of angels have replaced statues of St. Joseph, St. Therese Lisieux and Our Lady of Mount Carmel holding the baby Jesus. The plaster statues were stolen Jan. 29 from the Chapel of Divine Mercy at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Canton. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Individually, they often lacked enough money to sustain themselves and their families each week.

But collectively, destitute Irish immigrants constructed architectural masterpieces all across the United States. Some of the churches they financed rival well-known cathedrals in Europe.

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