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. Clue

    That's so amazing. It's wonderful to know that there's still some good people out there. Shouts out to Trappist Monks!!!!!!

    January 13, 2011 at 7:20 am |
  2. Mikey

    No negative comments. Very moving and beautiful story. Proud to be an American.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:29 am |
  3. GoFaster58


    January 13, 2011 at 6:26 am |
  4. Kenny

    Beautiful..........There is goodness among the people in this world. Bless these Monks and may GOD BLESS and keep close to HIM, THIS LOVELY LITTLE ANGEL.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:05 am |
  5. H. Brown

    Beautiful and awesome act of kindness and love. Thank God, we do have hope.

    January 13, 2011 at 4:16 am |
  6. J Ishmael

    Not one negative comment on this thread. So awesome. America is good and has a soul in all of the chaos. My heart breaks for these victims but my chest swells for all of you. Well done.

    January 13, 2011 at 2:38 am |
    • Amber

      I totally agree with you. May this not so random act of kindness be carried with each and every one of us through out this day and beyond. Americans are better than what we see every day on this site.

      January 13, 2011 at 5:55 am |
    • doreen

      So touching – the best and worst of mankind wrapped up in one story, and personified by a a 9-year-old child.

      January 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  7. Shannon Alexander Szukala

    This is so wonderful of them.

    January 13, 2011 at 2:23 am |
  8. Az

    Donate to the child casket fund here http://www.trappistcaskets.com/about/child-casket-fund/

    January 13, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Jack


      January 13, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  9. Paul

    There is more good in this world than evil

    January 13, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • connie

      absolutely...it is unfortunate that the evil is so much louder. it causes so many to dispair, and think that the evil is greater, but when the good quietly marches forth like this, the strong feeling of peace that it brings is undeniable. good will always triumph. quietly and peacefully.

      January 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  10. Jami

    Amazing, heartbreaking, and bittersweet. How can a person donate to this fund?

    January 12, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Corrin

      For those who wish to donate to the fund for child caskets, please go to http://www.trappistcaskets.com/
      The monks do not charge when they are notified of a child's death. They farm the wood for these caskets on their farm property in Iowa. They are all handmade in various kinds of wood, with a simple linen lining which they also sew on site.

      January 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  11. Miriam

    That is so kind of them to help out that family and give them something special for her.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
  12. Nikki

    Human nature at its best. That is just so touching.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  13. tallulah13

    This simple kindness transcends all beliefs, be they political or religious, and shows what is best about humanity.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
  14. Name*Judy Frosr

    How beautiful. May the peace and blessings of the lord fill ours hearts.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  15. Becky

    This is the best of America- this great country..

    January 12, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
  16. rachel

    What a beautiful gesture for the mourning family.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  17. Robin

    Bless them for doing this. I think its wonderful that they made them crosses out of the casket

    January 12, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Noah

      That really struck me too. It seems like a beautiful symbol and a perfect way to remember.

      January 13, 2011 at 12:21 am |
  18. Holly Huntimer

    It is always nice to hear of such giving and compassion after such devastation and tragedy!

    January 12, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  19. amelie

    This is so sad... little angel.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  20. Suzie

    What a beautiful gesture for a grieving family.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • Ms. Sheba

      I agree wholeheartedly. Glad to see some good news in all this despair. Bless the families involved.

      January 12, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Nick

      Trappist monks are awesome. I love this crazy country we share.

      January 12, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • USS Mendota

      Yes, this is a touching story. It is nice to know that there is goodness among the violence.

      January 13, 2011 at 6:34 am |
    • ~Sandy~

      you are so right! what a beautiful thing to do for Christina's family........they are a truly loving people...........

      January 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • fruita_guy

      No matter what language you use to say it, amen. May this horrible incident bring us together as fellow human beings, and as countrymen.

      January 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Lisa

      I lived in Peosta Iowa. I know , first hand, the work these monks do for others. Im very proud of our wonderful state of Iowa. The Abby is beautiful. They never ask for anything, And help many people. God bless them and God Bless America !

      January 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Alise

      I am so deeply touched by this I can't speak...I have no words for this incredible act of kindness...

      January 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • FlangeSqueal

      Go to http://www.trappistcaskets.com and find out where to send your donation for the Child Casket Fund.

      I did it in memory of little Christine.

      January 13, 2011 at 6:16 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.