Our Lady of the New Millennium outside Sacred Heart Church in Melrose Park in 2003. Credit: Tamara Bell/Pioneer Press

The Reader’s archive is vast and varied, going back to 1971. Every day in Archive Dive, we’ll dig through and bring up some finds.

In another era, Carl Demma would have been a prophet or a saint. In late-2oth century Chicago, he was just another eccentric with a dream: to build a 33-foot-tall, 8,400-pound stainless steel statue of the Blessed Mother. It took him an entire lifetime to make it happen. “That guy upstairs, you don’t know what he puts me through,” he told a friend. “But I gotta do it. I gotta do it.” Tori Marlan told the whole marvelous story of Our Lady of the New Millennium in “Carl Demma’s Mighty Metal Madonna.” (After touring for several years, the statue found a permanent home in Saint John, Indiana.)