Sisterly Love


John N. Raithel

1821 – 1889


Barbara Kuhn Raithel

1827- 1887

Margaret Raithel

1858 – 1906

Marie Raithel

1863 – 1935

George Raithel

1848 – 1873


There is a small 19-acre cemetery, the Wunder’s Cemetery, in Chicago, named after a German Lutheran minister, Heinrich Wunder, who had been pastor of the First St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Chicago.  He had served that congregation for over six decades.

Among the gravestones, large and small, tall and short, obelisks, tablets, and columns is a marble sculpture of two young women embracing.  The first time I saw it, the monument was protected in a box with plexiglass.  The plexiglass was scratched and stained, obscuring the finely carved details of sculpture.  The draped figured have a garland of flowers in their laps.

The last time I saw the monument, the hazy plexiglass had been replaced with clear glass revealing the intricately carved figures—two sisters—Margaret and Marie.  After the death of Marie, Margaret had the monument erected to honor her sister and their relationship.  The sculpture remains as a monument to sisterly love.

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6 Responses to Sisterly Love

  1. Carrie says:

    What a beautiful monument. She would go on to live another 30 years without her beloved sister, how her absence must have been so heart-fully felt.

  2. margaret cashen says:


    I’m wondering if you would interpret this grave marker?

    Thank you! Margaret

    • In funerary symbolism the vacant chair symbolizes the loss of a loved one. The vacant bed would also represent that loss.

      • Margaret Cashen says:

        What is the blanket (?) looking like a tent at the end of the bed symbolize?

      • Symbolism in gravestones can have several meanings or none. The blanket at the end of the bed could just part of the sculpture to make the bed look slept in with the child removed. Often, though, a cloth like that, over the face of a mourning figure, or draped on a coffin or urn can represent the veil between the Earthly Realm and the Heavenly Realm.

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