Is that you, Jesus?

Father Gerald looks on at the newly returned stone baby Jesus head.  A temporary terracotta head created by a local artist was widely mocked on social media.

Story highlights

  • The artist using terracotta clay to repair the head
  • The statue had been vandalized several times

(CNN)A statue of a baby Jesus in a Canadian church got an unexpected makeover, giving onlookers reason to do a double-take. And for good reason.

It looks less like the son of Mary and more like the daughter of Marge.
    The statue depicts Mary with baby Jesus in her arm and it stands at the Ste Anne des Pins Catholic church in downtown Sudbury, Ontario.
    The problem is vandals keep stealing baby Jesus' head.
    So, recently, a local artist replaced the missing piece with a hand-crafted terracotta presence.
    You can see the result for yourself. Locals joke the new head makes baby Jesus look like spiky-haired Lisa Simpson - she of the "The Simpsons" fame.
    Statue of Mary with baby Jesus.  "The spring sometime is the planned time for the new head," Father Gerald told CNN.
    "It's always Jesus's head that goes missing," parish priest Gerard Lajeunesse told CNN. "Probably because it's easier to break off."
    Once, someone broke it off but left the pieces behind. So, it was possible to put it back together, he said.
    Last year, someone ran off with it.
    "We were never able to find it," Lajeunesse said.
    The church had considered replacing the entire statue. But that'll cost about $6,000 to $10,000, he said.

    Temporary head

    One day, a local artist visited the parish, offering help to repair the damaged statue. She spent several hours working to sculpt a new Jesus head out of terracotta clay.
    The temporary baby Jesus head, made from terracotta clay, has drawn comparisons to cartoon character Maggie Simpson.
    I was so sad," artist Heather Wise told local online news site, Sudbury.com.
    "My feelings were hurt when I saw it, because I thought, 'Who would do that?' It's just not a positive feeling to see that."
    Lajeunesse acknowledges some people see the head and react with "shock, a few dislikes."
    "People did not know it was only temporary. The artist plans to sculpt a new head this spring," he said.
    It's not the first time that religious art restoration has raised eyebrows. An artist gained attention when she tried to make improvements to a century old fresco.