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. Joannie

    There are people that really do care and want to help in any way they can!

    January 13, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  2. xyz


    see you next Tuesday...think about it

    January 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  3. HL

    While I can never condone religion in any situation, I can easily be thankful of pure human kindness and the sheer potential we have as human beings to just be amazing people in and of our own hearts and minds. We don't need religion.. we just need kindness.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  4. Name*Holly Martin


    January 13, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  5. Ned

    Amazing juxtapostion to the Catholic-hating Westboro Church. Who's Christlike now?

    January 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  6. bill

    amaziing .l.. cant stop crying

    January 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Debbie

      I can't either Bill.

      January 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • kat

      Me too, all these tears. So many heartfelt actions are coming out of the terror of last weekend. I was amazed to see the US flag at Christina's memorial, the story of Ben's bells – when a child died too soon, the mom makes these ceramic bells and hangs them around Tucson. Some went to the Safeway, which was still a crime scene, so the FBI agents hung them for the people. However, this story about the Monks and their caskets about did me in. Thank you for all the positive posts and please can we live in peace for awhile.

      January 15, 2011 at 1:12 am |
  7. Mary

    God bless these monks and the work they do! The comments here are so respectful and moving . . . please pray that our country can heal from this and especially, the poor parents of this wonderful little girl. As a Catholic, I'm humbled by the monks' generosity and proud to be an American. God bless our country and be with this little girl. Amen.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  8. Valerie

    So touching.

    And the 5 cruxifixs made of the same wood as the casket. That is such a thoughful touch. Wow.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  9. carlos

    Don't forget to say "Peace" and breathe deep, slow and gently. Let's join our hearts and minds to be at peace with ourselves and with the planet.

    May God Bless us all, Christina..little angel, good company awaits you, enjoy it !!!!!!

    January 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  10. clos

    My daughter was also bron 9/11/2001. I feel for their loss as I know exactly what kind of child they lost. I saw the picture with the coffing and it just made me want to hug my daughter a little closer. Sorry for your loss. Rest in peace little flower.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  11. Some Kraut


    January 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  12. kwolf

    Just a reminder that there IS more good than evil in this country...

    January 13, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • BuddahLuvsMohammed Long Time

      ...Just not in Washington DC

      January 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  13. Randa

    What a beautiful gesture.. That precious baby! My prayers are with this family during this time! I can't fathom what they must be going through.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  14. msyellarose

    I am so pleased to hear people of with such kindness and compassion in their hearts. It is heartwrenching to have to bury an innocent baby like this.

    January 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  15. N. MacE

    I love to see this kind of LOVE.

    January 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  16. Jean Paul from Montreal

    What a gloriious move on the part of those monks, Thank You,

    January 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  17. Gary

    I live less than an hour from Peosta, and I can tell you what they do there is amazing.

    Please go to their website and donate anything you can so they can do for other children as they did for Christina.

    Thank you.

    January 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  18. YellowBird

    May God send the Comforter to Christina Green's loved ones. To love a person one does not have to know her/him. The Trappist Monks used their hands to express love to the Green Family. Now, we know of the Monks quietly doing God's work.

    January 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  19. Sara

    God Bless the Monks for doing this. Beautiful cross and the love that went into making this casket for little Christina. May you rest in peace little girl.

    January 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  20. Truth2BKnown

    Joining hands with compassion, really shows that people from all walks of life, can and do come together. The University did a great job, bringing people together. God has another intelligent angel in heaven!

    January 13, 2011 at 4:26 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.