Monks make, donate casket for youngest victim in Arizona shooting
January 12th, 2011
11:01 PM ET

Monks make, donate casket for youngest victim in Arizona shooting

By Eric Marrapodi and Kara Devlin

A group of Trappist monks in Iowa have donated a handmade casket to bury 9-year-old Christina Green, the youngest victim in the Saturday attack that killed six and wounded 13 others in Arizona.

Sam Mulgrew, the general manager of Trappist Caskets in Peosta, Iowa, told CNN a family representative of the Greens reached out to the monks at New Melleray Abbey near Dubuque after her death. The custom-made casket arrived in Tucson, Arizona, Wednesday morning.

"We didn't want to send an adult coffin that would be too big, we wanted something just for her," said Mulgrew, who is not a monk but who manages the 11-year-old casket business that is part of the abbey.

The casket, crafted from red oak, was made especially for 9-year-old Christina, Mulgrew said. She died after a gunman opened fire at a constituents event held by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded in the shooting.

Christina's funeral is scheduled for Thursday in Tucson.

The lid of the casket was inscribed with her name, date of birth and death, and a cross. The family also will receive five small keepsake crosses hewn from the same wood as the casket, Mulgrew said.

Before the casket was sent from the monastery in Iowa to Arizona, the monks gave the casket a special blessing inside their chapel on Tuesday.

The monks are Roman Catholic and are part of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. They make and sell custom caskets with "reverence for nature," according to the Trappist Caskets website.

"Along with prayer and study, our casket ministry is an extension of our sacred work. We labor quietly with our hands in support of our life of simplicity," says a statement on the website.

Mulgrew said when a child dies it hits the monks particularly hard. He said they don't like to sell childrens caskets; instead, a "child casket fund" they started often covers the costs.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Arizona • Catholic Church • Death • United States

soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. Homemade Hot Chocolate

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    August 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
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    July 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  3. Delia

    I shed a few tears over this story. That darling little girl….and her poor family.

    The dumb media described it as a brown casket…so much for investigative reporting and research, huh?

    January 25, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  4. sean

    Awesome. Not the right word but it definitely describes the humanity this group has shown.

    January 16, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • sal

      i agree our comp at epicmemorials we do the same thing

      August 25, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  5. Kyle

    My former spiritual director is a monk at this Trappist monastery. They are an amazing group of men! If you ever get a chance to visit, join them for night prayer. It is the most beautiful night prayer in the world. Also, donate if you have the means.

    January 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  6. senoy

    I'm not Catholic, but when my son died, we got a casket from here. Since it was child sized, they didn't even give me a quote for the cost or the shipping. We ended up giving them a donation anyway that we thought was more than the casket was worth to put in their child casket fund. They sent us a card on the anniversary of his death saying that they still prayed for him and us daily. They are an extraordinary group of people.

    January 14, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  7. Take my Haiti.....please

    Thank goodness they focused on something else aside from the precious politician who got gunned down. Dont get me wrong, I feel for all these folks but the usual media sensationalizing of the politicians who got shot irritates me since it trivialized the other non-politicians who actually died.
    best wishes to all those involved...even the politician

    January 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  8. Margaret

    God works in mysterious ways and by the tone of all of these comments something good has come from this tragedy. We are suppose to be there for each other. God Bless all of us.

    January 14, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  9. KC

    This artilce gives me hope. I almost cried when reading it. God Bless her and the monks.

    January 14, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  10. questiony

    No, I guess my point is, and ALL OF YOU made it beautifully for me.....is that there are many many tragic deaths of children and otherwise. For some reason this seems more important to you emotionally brittle types and the only reason seems to be that it is playing non-stop on news channels. Grow up and get control of your tiny minded emotions!

    This is similar to getting prayer requests for some unknown kid in Brazil who is suffering from disease. These are people we don't know and will never know. But all you arrogant do-gooder types think so much of yourselves for emoting all over the place here. Your behavior is pointless. Pray right now for that poor child somewhere in China who is being killed. happens all the time. Try to inform yourselves.

    January 14, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • James

      Get a grip, questiony. Being compassionate and grieving for this poor girl doesn't prevent anyone from also being compassionate about any other poor child, whether in Arizona, Brazil, China or Denmark. The fact remains that this precious girl's unfathomably wasteful death has been shared with us via the media. It is, as you are very right to say, as substantially tragic as the death of any child; but it has a certain semiotic resonance which surely you can see. Simply, a girl has been murdered – it makes us sad. Another fact is that her casket was made and donated by some Trappist monks. This is as essentially charitable as any act of generosity and compassion; but it too has been shared with the world via the media and, obviously, bears a degree of semiotic significance by proximity. It gives us hope. There is nothing wrong with that. Neither of these two facts prevent us from being just as compassionate regarding anything else at all, so why are you so upset about this? If anything, an emotive expression regarding one particular situation is for many people a universal gesture. We can't physically be aware of and comment upon every tragic death, we can't save every starfish on the beach; so would you rather we did nothing at all?

      January 15, 2011 at 8:49 am |
  11. B. A.

    That's cool of those guys. Makes a horrible situation a little bit easier on the grievers.

    January 13, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  12. Ina

    My heart goes out to the family , and there little girl is now with her angles !

    January 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • Take my Haiti.....please

      When I die I want to be with all the acute, obtuse, and right angles as well.
      Just messing with you< i know you meant angels

      January 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.