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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 from Paraguay
Vegetal Reign
Mercedes C. Servin

This Paraguayan nativity takes us back to more rudimentary forms of life. It is artfully crafted from banana leaf, the figures as well as the imposing roof of their dwelling place. The round, polished and gentle doll faces emerge like little moons from the dried and brittle vestiges of the vegetal reign. No form of life in this world lives independent of the other. Each one of them is a building block for the next, sometimes higher, form of existence. Likewise, Incarnation reaches through human expression of being to all other manifestations of nature. The Lord of Redemption is also the Lord of Creation. As for the banana tree from which this set was made, we know that it grows and matures entirely for its fruit. To be harvested, the tree needs to be cut down, but no sooner cut to the quick, rises again to new growth and new fruit. The season of life alternates with the season of death until only life eternal remains.

– ML.2391

Nativity from Paraguay
Eternal Spring
L. Don Santos

Christmas is a seasonal feast and thus patterned on climate and geography. Countries of the northern hemisphere relate Christmas to snow, cold, and darkness. The nativity is a feast of light expelling darkness and evil. From the candles of the Advent wreath to the star of the wise men and to Saint Joseph's lantern: All of these sources of minor lights symbolize and anticipate Jesus Christ, light of the world and victor over evil. Cultures of the southern hemisphere have developed different traditions, inspired by symbols of springtime and early summer. As pictured in this nativity set, Christmas is a feast of birds, flowers, and fruits. With the birth of Christ paradise lost has once more become paradise retrieved. The presence of the Newborn invites the end-times, a period of eternal spring. In all of these manifold customs and traditions, the underlying message is the same— Christmas is the feast of life, a victory over death.

– ML.3234



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