CHURCH POINT, La. (KLFY) — Officials at St. Edward Catholic Church in Church Point are looking for answers after the desecration of the gravesite of the “The Little Cajun Saint,” Charlene Richard.

According to the church’s pastor, the Rev. Korey R. LaVergne, a crucifix was stolen from Richard’s headstone some time last week.

“The cross was so important, that crucifix, because in her final moments that’s what she clung to. Her crucifix,” LaVergne said.

Charlene Richard, known affectionately as “The Little Cajun Saint,” has been an object of veneration since her courageous battle with leukemia served as an inspiration to others before her death in 1959 at age 12. While dying, Richard prayed for other individuals to be healed or to be converted to Catholicism.

Church officials at the time claimed that those for whom Richard prayed recovered from their illnesses or became Catholic. While not an actual saint yet, Richard has been officially named a Servant of God by the Church.

Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of the Diocese of Lafayette opened the cause of Richard’s beatification in 2020. In 2021, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gave their support for the advancement of Richard’s beatification and canonization on the diocesan level, making her an official candidate for sainthood.

Pastor LaVergne said it’s his hope the cross can be returned. He said if anyone has any information on the cross, it can be returned to the church without any consequences.