Domestic shrines are clearly intended to signal the homeowners’ devotion to their favorite saint, but they also serve to protect the dwellers from any sort of misfortune.  Modern security systems serve as backup.


Social security: Sometimes the saints themselves require protection from neighborhood mischief makers or other unwanted intruders, so protection is provided by locks, grates, and doors.

Shelter from the storm: Some owners augment the protection from the elements with plastic wrapping, adding yet another dimension to the Virgins and saints’ appearance.

Virgins enchained: Another classic feature of Somerville’s built environment is the chain link fence, popular because of its low cost and high effectiveness in keeping dogs and intruders at bay.  Chain link fences surround the yards of many of the yards containing statues, but sometimes they take on the attributes of a cage.