Skip to main content



The following Nativities are each displayed in a unique permanent setting created by Marian Library Crèche Collection volunteers. The descriptive text for each was written by Father Johann Roten, S.M.

nativity set

A Matter of the Heart
Mario and Miguel Mendoza

This nativity set was made by two brothers from San Salvador of Jujuy. Jujuy is the northern most province of Argentina. Inca influence and Hispanic culture gave this region a remarkable wealth of art and music. The Mendoza brothers, ceramic artists of renown, have made it their task to reproduce in ceramic some of the major features of the local Jujuy culture. The figures in this manger scene are rendered in the colorful costumes of the Jujuy Indios. Mary and Joseph are stills of awe and reverence. Putting the right hand on their heart, they let it be known that for them, Christmas is truly a matter of the heart. Unthinkable as it may be for an Indio woman, even her hat has come off in praise of the child.

– ML.1118.09

nativity set

Still Coming
Gracia Kuchaczuk (in the style of Arte Isleño)
– Argentina/Mesopotamia

Attentive observation suggests that representations of the Nativity follow two typical movements. There are nativity sets where all the characters move forward and gather around the manger. A different and more recent tradition reverses the movement and sends the Holy Family in search of the world and of people. In this set we see the Holy Family in open space limited only by a distant horizon separating water and sky. We don’t know where their boat—made from leather—will take them. The sheer limitless space seems like an unfair challenge for the humble couple and their child. But there lingers a confident joy on their faces. The mission is engaged. It must continue. This set is reminiscent of a different boat ride and a different river. Representations of the flight to Egypt has the Holy Family riding the river Nile. The banks of the river are infested with wild animals, lions, and dragons. Threatening first, they will eventually follow the Holy Family subdued and subservient. And thus, again and again, the message of Christmas travels the world.

– ML.2348


Marian Library

Roesch Library
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1390