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Immigrant Mother - Croatian Cultural Garden

Immigrant Mother Statue
Croatian Cultural Garden
May 11, 2012

On Friday May 11, 2012 the sculpture of the Immigrant Mother was placed in the Croatian Cultural Garden. A crew of volunteers was on hand to assist the workers and then spruce up the Garden.

Working on the Immigrant Mother statue in the Croatian Cultural Garden


Working on the Immigrant Mother statue in the Croatian Cultural Garden


Working on the Immigrant Mother statue in the Croatian Cultural Garden


Thanks to Tom Turlaky for the above photos.


The Immigrant Mother sculpture was created by the late Joseph Turkaly. She represents the thousands of mothers who came to America seeking freedom and a better life for their families. Many came as refugees after wars in their homeland.

The Immigrant Mother sculpture was created by the late Joseph Turkaly


Joseph Turkaly signature

Joseph Turkaly's signature on the sculpture from 1990


On the front of the granite monument base is the Croatian grb, a symbol followed by the Croatians for centuries both in wars and in peace. It has been embellished and changed over the centuries in various adaptations.

Immigrant Mother statue with Croatian grb

The Croatian Glagolitic Script is engraved on the left side of the monument. The Croats using the Glagolitic alphabet were the only nation in Europe who was given a special permission by Pope Innocent IV in 1248 to use their own language and this script in their liturgy.

Croatian Glagolitic Script


A dedication is engraved on the back of the monument.

Croatian Immigrant Mother statue Dedication

Mrs Julia Turkaly, the sculptor's wife, told us that when she was fleeing Hungary in 1956 she saw a young mother carrying a baby and that she thinks of her every time she see the statue.

Immigrant Mother statue in Cleveland Croatian Garden


Immigrant Mother statue in Cleveland Croatian Garden


Immigrant Mother statue in Cleveland Croatian Garden


The benches are made from a special stone from Croatia and feature the pleter or troplet in Croatian, a type of interlace, most characteristic for its three-ribbon pattern. The stone is explained by Mrs Mila Mandic in the video below. The design is engraved around the monument base and garden benches. It is one of the most used patterns of pre-romanesque Croatia. It is found on and within churches as well as monasteries built in early medieval Kingdom of Croatia between the 9th and beginning of the 12th century.

Croatian Garden bench





Enjoy these other photos from the work day when the Immigrant Mother statue was placed and be sure to save June 3rd for the dedication.

Members of the Turkaly Family at the Immigrant Mother statue

Members of the Turkaly Family - Anna, Peter, Kim and
Thomas, Joe and Julia (wife of sculptor Joseph)


Croatian Garden workers - Thomas Turkaly, Mila Mandic, Kathy Kuhar.

Croatian Garden workers - Thomas Turkaly, Mila Mandic and Kathy Kuhar.


Croatian Garden workers


Croatian Garden workers


Croatian Garden workers


Croatian Garden workers


Tom Turkaly - Croatian Garden workers

Tom Turkaly


Croatian Garden workers


Turkaly Family

Turkaly family members


The Croatian Garden is being developed in three phases. Phase One will be on the lower level on Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Phase Two will include the completion of the hillside steps and benches as well as the waterfall. Phase Three will be the development of the upper garden with busts of Croatian cultural figures and the Viseslavova Krstionica. This space will be open for a gathering place.

The Croatian Cultural Garden Committee invites you to attend the Dedication Ceremonies of Phase One of the Croatian Cultural Garden. We will begin with the Holy Mass at 10:00am at St. Paul's Church, 1369 E. 40th Street, Cleveland, Ohio. The Garden dedication will commence at 1:00pm at the Croatian Garden site on Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. There is free parking on MLK and on East Blvd. A reception will follow the program at the site.

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