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All About Mary


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

Hands and Feet
A. Jimenez

This sturdy and earth-bound Nativity offers an overall impression of solid foundation, stability, and secret drama. The figurines are solid and stable, little masterpieces escaping an amorphous and formless world of clay. But there is more. Take a closer look at their hands and feet. They are of disproportioned size and shape. They are huge, bony, even looking arthritic. In one word, they are impressive, and the true actors of the secret dramas played in this set. See the intensity of Mary's prayer expressed in the huge folded hands; Saint Joseph, a giant hand on his hip, standing there like the guardian angel of paradise; the Magi-Kings sitting on sturdy, long-legged and broad-hooved camels, reigning in the animals with strong and massive fists. Even the tiny figure of the shepherd with the sizable sheep on his shoulder finds its most dramatic expression in the enormous hand which is ready and eager to present its gift to the baby. Hands and feet have their own language. In this set, it is a language of intense concentration and disciplined strength all directed toward the one who calls himself "Prince of Peace."

– ML.0106.28

nativity set

Tree Ballet
Paula Cuellar of Personitas de Colección (Bogotá)

Paula Cuellar of Personitas de Colección (Bogotá) creates magic with childlike faces of hand-painted ceramic, and figures richly clothed in suede and leather. Magic begets delight—a child's delight—when Arlequin and Alejo, the angel, the mime called Marcel, and Rosa la Primorosa and Margarita de la Suerte perform a ballet in the trees.

– ML.2510

nativity set

From the Earth
Unknown artist

Earth-bound and sturdy, figures of the earth painfully emerging from the formless mass of grayish clay: This is one of the first impressions conveyed by this set. Solid, stable, and powerful, say the figures for themselves. The general atmosphere is one of great intensity and concentration, of a huddled mass centered on the Christ Child. The faces are marked by the lines of time and the furrows of hardship and pain. But there is also the light of a smile coming from within. It timidly wanders around the faces to eventually co-mingle and fuse with the golden halos and caps. From the earth, the figures have achieved some freedom from the earth. Enough freedom to greet and cherish the one who came from heaven.

[Elisabeth van Mullekom Collection]

– MLA.337


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