Illuminated manuscript displayed to inspire

An illuminated piece from the St. John's Bible.  Photo by Ellen Petersen.

By Ivy Mackey, The Circuit.

Evangelization can take several forms, and art is one of them. From March 13 to April 16, 25 archival prints from the St. John’s Bible will be displayed across Benedictine College campus thanks to the Benedictine College Convocation and Arts Committee and St. Benedict’s Abbey.

Originally created from 1995-2011 by a team of artists and scribes under Her Majesty’s Crown Office in Parliament, the St. John’s Bible was commissioned by the Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

According to the Benedictine College Press release, the work is, “the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in more than 500 years.” Comprised of more than 1,130 pages, the Bible combines ancient techniques and materials, with modern imagery.

“I like the fact that they commissioned a Bible that is both traditional and contemporary,” said Bryan Park, Assistant Art professor at B.C. who originated the idea to display the Bible at the College. Park commented on how the work has roots in theology, art and philosophy; making it a perfect tool for evangelization.

In honor of the exhibit, different events were held in March. On March 26, the B.C. Department of Music held a concert that related works of music to different passages. On March 29, Sister Irene Nowell, OSB, Ph.D., a noted biblical scholar and member of Mount St. Scholastica gave a lecture including how she was one of eight people involved in the St. John’s Bible project committee. Other events include a full-scale replica volume of Gospels and Acts during Holy Week, April 9-15; as well as an illumination workshop put on by the monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey for Palm Sunday weekend.

“It’s not just looking to the past, but looking to the present and future,” Park said in regards to the importance of the work.

The prints are currently on display in the McCarthy Gallery of Art in Bishop Fink Hall, the Abbey Gallery on the lower level of the Abbey Church and the foyer of the Dining Hall. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Bryan Park at