Kelly: A second beginning for a monument to healing

The Record

Sunday, April 29, 2012


They carried flowers and photos and their own silent history of abuse.

But the object of their attention was a rock.

As church bells chimed and a piper played “Amazing Grace,” more than 70 people gathered Saturday outside a Roman Catholic church in Mendham to rededicate a vandalized memorial to children who have been sexually abused by priests.

The crowded North Jersey landscape is dotted with all manner of local shrines and monuments in town squares or parks, often commemorating war veterans or heroic police and firefighters. But the tire-shaped stone that sits at the western edge of the parking lot at the Church of St. Joseph in downtown Mendham may be one of the most unusual memorials anywhere.

“The Millstone,” as the memorial is called, is believed to be the only monument to victims of sexual abuse on Catholic Church property in the world. Its centerpiece — a hunk of charcoal-gray Columbia River basalt cut in the shape of a millstone — was destroyed last November allegedly by a local man who police say got drunk and smashed the memorial with a sledgehammer.

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