(CBS) — A Jefferson Park parish says vandals have defaced church property three times over the past three weeks.

It started three weeks ago with a statue of the Virgin Mary, in an outdoor area known as the grotto.

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Vandals defaced a statue of Mary at a Jefferson Park Church (Mary Beth Frystak)

The vandals used black paint, says Mary Beth Frystak, director of religious education at Our Lady of Victory on West Agitate.

“The first time it was very minimal, but they had a cross.  They put it upside down in black over Mary’s head.”

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Then in the past week or so, the vandals came back twice and used red paint.

“If you had seen – I mean it actually looked like she was full of blood,” Frystak says.

There were gang signs, and there was more damage done near the rectory.

The city was able to remove every trace of the paint, Frystak says. The parishioners have been praying for the vandals, she says.

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“It hits home when you can actually see it at church, when you actually realize that there is the evil out there,” she says.