Christian Art Committee Planning Campus Projects

Christian Art Committee Planning Campus Projects

St. Ignatius statue and a fountain with sculpture are in the works

By Sean Smith
Chronicle Editor

Having recently unveiled its first piece of artwork, the University's Committee on Christian Art is planning other campus projects that express Christian spirituality and tradition.

CHRISTIAN ART-Murals depicting former Jesuit Superior General Rev. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, (left) and social reformer Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, now hang in Lyons Hall as part of an effort to identify and present Christian art for display on the Boston College campus. (Photos by Lee Pellegrini)
Included in the committee's plans are the installation of a statue of St. Ignatius near Higgins Hall and the construction of a fountain in Middle Campus designed by sculptor Peter Rockwell, son of the legendary American artist Norman Rockwell.

The committee was formed as part of an initiative by University President William P. Leahy, SJ, to affirm Boston College's Jesuit and Catholic heritage and identity. Working under the direction of the Office of University Mission and Ministry, the committee seeks to identify and present Christian art for display on campus.

"Our mission speaks to the University's desire to sharpen our identity as a Jesuit and Catholic institution," said Assoc. Prof. T. Frank Kennedy, SJ (Music), the committee chairman. "There is a great tradition among the Jesuits that encourages a broad expression of faith and spirituality, including through the arts, whether in music, painting, dance, sculpture or other mediums."

Last year, the committee commissioned mosaics depicting Rev. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, who served as Superior General of the Society of Jesus from 1965-81, and journalist and social reformer Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement.

The mosaics, which were formally unveiled in the Lyons Hall first-floor foyer last fall, were done by Medford artist David Hollemann, who also created a stained glass window installed last year in St. Mary's Hall.

Fr. Kennedy said the statue of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuit order, is being designed by sculptor Pablo Eduardo, a Bolivian native living in Gloucester. The statue, scheduled for completion in November, will stand 10 feet tall atop a five-foot pedestal.

Recounting the committee's discussions with Eduardo, Fr. Kennedy said members described a statue that would capture St. Ignatius' essence as a "strong, visionary teacher.

"Usually, you see St. Ignatius with a sword and shield, a reference to his once being a soldier," said Fr. Kennedy. "We wanted something different: his interior, meditative side, as well as the strength of his personality. The idea was to show an older Ignatius, well on his way to fulfilling his vocation."

Fr. Kennedy added that the St. Ignatius statue also will serve to commemorate the historical ties between Jesuit and Latino traditions.

The proposed Middle Campus fountain will be titled "Tree of Life," said Fr. Kennedy, who has a small model of the 10-foot bronze structure now being constructed.

Calling the design "a meditation on Trinity and martyrdom, and other aspects of Christianity," Fr. Kennedy pointed to figures on the model he said were suggestive of the Cross, the Christ child and the Holy Spirit.
"Peter Rockwell is experienced in modern sculpture, and in particular with Christian iconography," said Fr. Kennedy of the fountain's sculptor, who presented a lecture at BC last semester. "He's effectively captured the essential character of Christianity in a very imaginative, contemporary way."

Another ongoing initiative of the committee is to invite BC students to donate pieces of Christian art they obtained or purchased while on international programs or service trips abroad. Approximately 20 small objects - including Madonnas, crucifixes and icons - have been collected thus far, Fr. Kennedy said, and are on display in Lyons, Campion and Carney halls and other academic buildings.

"These are objects that represent students' desire to connect their experiences overseas in very different types of Christian communities with their life at BC," said Fr. Kennedy.

Others on the committee are Rattian Professor of English John Mahoney, Romance Languages Chairman Assoc. Prof. Franco Mormando, SJ, Director of Campus Ministry James Erps, SJ, Student Services Director Louise Lonabocker and students Trisha Juliano '03 and Tripp Ross '02.


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