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About The College of St. Scholastica Library: About Building and Art

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About the Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel Building and Library

The Library is in the upper floors of Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel, built in 1938 on the eve of World War II, in the Romanesque architectural style.

The Library was originally on the first floor with the Chapel above. A major renovation occurred in 1986 where the Chapel and the Library exchanged places. The tall ceilings of the Chapel were divided into three floors.

Library Cutaway ImageIt is very intentional that the chapel and library share a building. As Sister Joan Braun is quoted as saying at the Library’s renovation dedication on September 25, 1986, “Medieval libraries were housed near the Church; St. Scholastica's library is now housed above the place of worship. I would like to suggest to you that this location has a rational relationship as well as a symbolic one. In the library, we seek knowledge; in the chapel we seek wisdom which builds on knowledge.”

 The first floor of the Library has the circulation and reference desks and is for group study with research resources and public access computer terminals.

The second and third floors are quiet study floors and house the majority of the books.

Our unique Library retains much of its original old-world craftsmanship after the renovation. Marble pillars, leather studded doors, embossed ceilings, exposed wooden beams, and stained-glass windows made by Emil Frei, Inc. in St. Louis, Missouri can be seen throughout the Library.

Art in Library - To navigate slide show, click on arrows at sides or on dots at bottom

First Floor: Sister Noemi Weygant Nature Photographs

Sister Noemi Weygant, O.S.B. (1907-1995) was a photography instructor for over 35 years at the College as well as an accomplished photographer and author of over a dozen books. Over her career, she won many awards and put on numerous exhibits. Three of her photographs showcasing her love of nature were purchased in the fall of 2017 with Friends funds to add to our Library’s art collection.

“To reveal the manifestation of God in nature is Sister Noemi’s objective” (Scriptorium, Nov. 21, 1962).

Sister Noemi, "My mission as a photographer is to ferret out the masterpiece. I take each picture as it comes, and exult in it, as if it was the only one in the world. And I say to the Lord, 'Thank you!' An artist is in the state of waiting, waiting for another cruise. It's something like experiencing eternity" (Cable, Feb. 15, 1978).

Sister Noemi Weygant Photographs

First Floor: 1020 Office Door Logic and Philosophy

The Chapel and Library both had stained glass made by the Emil Frei, Inc. from St. Louis, Missouri when the building was built in 1938. The front of the first floor of the Library has the original windows in what would have been originally the back of the Chapel. They feature geometric and nature designs, and you can see the Frei name in the lower right-hand window.

The leather doors for the rooms and offices were originally downstairs in the Library but were relocated during the renovation in 1986. Offices 1020, 1070, and 1080 have special stained glass windows, which represent the various disciplines in education.

1020 Office Door Logic And Philosophy

First Floor: 1070 Office Door Art and Music

1070 Office Door Art And Music

First Floor: 1080 Office Door Science and Mathematics

1080 Office Door Science And Mathematics

First Floor: St. John's Bible First Page of the Gospel of John

The Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten, illuminated Bible a Benedictine Monastery has commissioned since the printing press was invented 500 years ago. It was commissioned by Saint John’s University in Collegeville, MN and took almost 15 years to complete. It is 1,150 pages long with 160 major illuminations.

The Library has seven illuminations from the Bible including (Left to Right):

  1. Genealogy of Jesus from the beginning of Matthew
  2. Adam and Eve from Genesis 3
  3. The Baptism of the Lord from the beginning of Mark
  4. Birth of Christ from the beginning of Luke
  5. Sower and the Seed from Mark 3
  6. Life in Community from Acts 4
  7. Christ our Light from the beginning of John

St. John's Bible First Page of the Gospel of John

First Floor: “Far from the Smile of Reims” by Georges Henri Rouault

This lithograph is part of a 58 painting series from 1922 titled Miserere. The Battle of Reims in late summer of 1918 was the site of the last major German offensive in World War I. Rouault (1871-1958) was a French painter, whose work is in the Fauvism and Expressionism styles. Maureen Mullarkey wrote this commentary on this piece, “Several of his [Rouault’s] bitterest designs have a Germanic flavor. The fat-faced figure of  “Far from the Smile of Reims”  sports the Prussian eagle on his helmet plate. Or is it the Holy Spirit on a bishop’s mitre? Prussian general or ecclesiastical bureaucrat, the image is a jeremiad against inordinate pride.” (2006, para. 13)

“Far from the Smile of Reims” by Georges Henri Rouault

First Floor: Facsimile of Codex Benedictus

This copy of the Codex Benedictus was published in 1982 and is a gift of an anonymous donor. It is an exact replica of the illuminated manuscript commissioned in 1070 by Abbot Desiderius at Monte Cassino, Italy, which was the abbey founded by St. Benedict and where he wrote his Rule in the sixth century. The Codex Benedictus contains lessons for the feasts of St. Benedict, St. Maurus and St. Scholastica.

Facsimile of Codex Benedictus

First Floor: Elijah Monoprint 1 by Sister Constantina Kakonyi, S.N.D.

Three black-and-white mono-prints depict the prophet Elijah by Sister Constantina Kakonyi, S.N.D., who was a professor and artist-in-resident at the College for over 40 years before returning to her native Hungary in 1994. She achieved the lithographic quality of these images by what she termed “mono-print,”  first applying ink to a flat surface, placing a piece of paper over the inked surface, and then drawing on the paper in reverse.

First Floor: Elijah Monoprint 1 by Sister Constantina Kakonyi, S.N.D.

First Floor: Elijah Monoprint 2 by Sister Constantina Kakonyi, S.N.D.

First Floor: Elijah Monoprint 1 by Sister Constantina Kakonyi, S.N.D.

First Floor: Elijah Monoprint 3 by Sister Constantina Kakonyi, S.N.D.

First Floor: Elijah Monoprint 3 by Sister Constantina Kakonyi, S.N.D.

First Floor: “Going Somewhere” by Diane O’Leary

“Diane O’Leary (1935-2013) was a Native American multimedia artist, half Irish and half Comanche. Her work advocates for the equality and dignity of the oppressed and misused, including Native Americans, women and the environment.” (Wikipedia, 2018, para. 1)

This painting was done in 1986 and is dedicated to Sister Joan Braun, O.S.B., who worked in the Library from the early 1950s until 1974 when she became the Interim President of the College. She was influential in the redesign of the Library and Chapel in 1986.

First Floor: “Going Somewhere” by Diane O’Leary

First Floor: Priscilla Rogers Portrait by Madame Maria Bartha

Helen Priscilla (went by Priscilla) and her sister Vonda grew up in Walker, MN, children of Edward Rogers, who was a fairly famous athlete and lawyer who also went to Washington D.C. to fight for Indian rights. Edward was half Native American and half Irish.

Priscilla had what was then called a “hole in the heart” or a faulty valve. Her father took her to a heart specialist who operated on children out East, but at that point Priscilla was too old to be operated on. Priscilla ran off to be married in her teens, but her parents had that marriage annulled, and she attended the Villa following in her older sister Vonda’s footsteps. No records indicate her completing her studies here either as a high school or college student.

She went out to New Mexico and was at Okona and Taos working with art and the Navajo. She married a second time at the St. Francis Mission and died in childbirth in November of 1943, most likely due to complications with her compromised heart function.

In grief, her father commissioned Madame Bartha to paint Priscilla’s portrait in her wedding dress holding a yellow rose, which she loved. She is wearing a turquoise bracelet and earrings, and her niece, Priscilla Herbison (who donated the painting to the Library) still has the bracelet in her possession.

Madame Bartha was an art instructor here at the College from the late 1940s to early 1950s. She was educated in France learning a special three-point perspective, which allows for it to appear as if the eyes of the person in the portrait follow you. Check it out! 

First Floor: Priscilla Rogers Portrait With Niece Priscilla Herbison

First Floor: “Riding Far Boy” by Carol Grigg

Carol Grigg is a Cherokee painter from Oregon and draws her inspiration from nature and primitive art such as those from cave paintings. She is especially known for her paintings of Native American women riding or leading their horses. This is a print of her 1988 painting where the horse is named Far Boy.

First floor painting “Riding Far Boy” by Carol Grigg

First Floor: Display Case with Nineteenth Century Samurai and Japanese Artifacts

Tom Buck is a professor at the College in the Computer and Information Science Department, and he also has a hobby in collecting and restoring ancient Japanese objects such as swords, helmets, and other interesting objects. These items are currently on loan from him so they can be displayed here in the Library. 

Tom Buck with Nineteenth Century Samurai and Japanese Artifacts

First Floor: Scholasticat Illumination by Todd White

Our book catalog, ScholastiCAT, is named after bibliotheca feles (the cat of the library) who, according to legend, among his many miracles, drove out all the rats from the granary of the Monastery of Blarney. Librarian Todd White illuminated ScholastiCAT in the tradition of the Lindisfarne Gospels. Framed above the rare book case is the original artwork by Todd, and you can purchase this image on tee-shirts, sweatshirts, and book bags here in the Library.

First Floor: Scholasticat Illumination by Todd White

Rare Book Case with Books Donated by Sister Joan Braun, O.S.B.

Sister Joan Braun, O.S.B. (1920-2011) graduated from the College in 1943 and joined the St. Scholastica Monastery along with her sisters Mary Carol and Grace Marie. She was the director of the Library and also served as academic dean and interim president of the College. Along with a doctorate in library science, she also had a master's degree in art history and a passion for early books and manuscripts.

She donated her collection of nearly 200 rare and precious texts, which comprise the majority of the Sister Joan Braun Special Collection. They are housed in this bookcase. This collection includes items written in nine different languages, dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries.  Topics range from religion and literature to history and domestic arts.  The oldest book in the collection is Xenophontis, Philosophi et Imperatoris Clarissimi, Quae Exstant Opera, In Duos Tomos Divisa, from 1596. Some examples of fun items from the collection include:

  • A Catholic prayer book & catechism in the Otchipwe-Indian language from the 1880s
  • A book on etiquette from 1792 titled The Young Gentleman's Parental Monitor
  • A letter written to Major General Ulysses S. Grant by a prisoner of war in 1862
  • A 1896 book of pressed flowers from the Holy Land
  • Souvenirs from World's Fairs in Chicago in 1893 and in Tokyo in 1922
  • The Ulster County Gazette announcing George Washington's death in 1800

First Floor: Rare Book Case with Books Donated by Sister Joan Braun, O.S.B.

First Floor: Lloyd Munjanja With Two Library Paintings (Left and Right)

Lloyd is from Gokwe, Zimbabwe and graduated from the College in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He was the Student Leadership Award winner and gave the commencement address. He is one of 100 people honored for the College’s Centennial as a member of our Century of Saints. He has gone on to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Rochester and is currently a research scientist. Lloyd is also an accomplished painter and photographer.

When he was a student here, he held a silent auction to sell many of his paintings to raise money for the Bethany Crisis Nursery in Duluth. From that sale, the Library purchased three of them (we were only authorized to buy two from our director, so this caused a little bit of trouble), and other people and departments also bought them, so his art can be seen in many offices and even homes in the area.

Lloyd Munjanja With Two Library Paintings

First Floor: Facsimile of the Gutenberg Bible

This facsimile of the Gutenberg Bible was donated in 1961 by the Braun parents of Sister Joan, Sister Grace Marie, and Sister Mary Carol, all Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery. It is the first facsimile produced in America and derived from one created in 1913-14 in Leipzig, Germany. It is a copy of the 42-line or Mazarin Bible, believed to be the first book printed from movable type by Johannes Gutenberg in 1455.

First Floor: Facsimile of the Gutenberg Bible

First Floor: Portrait of Victor F. Ridder

In 1965, the Ridder family gave $45,000 for additions to the Library including multi-tier stacks for books, a periodical and reading room, and a technical services area. This portrait painting of Mr. Ridder honors that donation.

First Floor: Portrait of Victor F. Ridder

First Floor: Friends of the Library Charter by Meridith Schifsky

For the College’s Centennial in 2012, the Library founded a Friends of the Library group from whom donations could be used for special projects for the Library and its patrons. The founding members of the Friends along with its mission statement are written in calligraphy by Meridith Schifsky on the charter along with illuminations of icons for St. Jerome, patron saint of libraries; St. Brigid of Ireland, patron saint of scholars; the Venerable Bede, patron saint of scholars; and St. Catherine of Alexandria, patron saint of philosophers and scholars. Inspiration from the stained glass windows and lamp carved in wood at the front of the first floor of the Library are included along with the St. Cloud granite stones used to build the Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel building.

First Floor: Friends of the Library Charter by Meridith Schifsky

First Floor: Illuminated Manuscript of The Bestiary of Scholastica by Students in the Book of the 15th Century Class

Also for the College’s Centennial in 2012, the students in this honors course, taught by English Professor Dr. Bill Hodapp, Librarian Todd White, and Calligrapher Meridith Schifsky, created this manuscript with calligraphy and illuminations. A bestiary contains common and mythical beasts narrating their habits along with allegorical lessons the medieval world, when this was written, attributed to these creatures. The text was translated from the twelfth century Aberdeen Bestiary by Dr. Hodapp.

First Floor: Illuminated Manuscript of The Bestiary of Scholastica  by Students in the Book of the 15th Century Class

First Floor: Sister Margaret Clarke, O.S.B. Calligraphy and Illumination from The Silmarillion by Tolkien

Sister Margaret Clarke, O.S.B. (1938-2014) was a physical science professor at the College for 40 years where she taught physics, geology, and astronomy. However she also had a background in philosophy and taught logic. Her interest in Celtic myth and legend led her to participate twice in the College’s Irish Studies Program in Louisburgh, County Mayo, Ireland. Love of music and wit were expressed both with her beautiful voice and in writing lyrics and narration for musicals and plays including Glorianna in Duluth, about the energy crisis, and A Man for our Time, about St. Benedict. Sister Margaret was also an accomplished artist and calligrapher as shown by this piece of art she did using the creation account  found in The Silmarillion titled “Aimulindalë:  The Music of the Ainur” written by J. R. R. Tolkien.

First Floor: Sister Margaret Clarke, O.S.B. Calligraphy and Illumination  from The Silmarillion by Tolkien

First Floor: "New Hope" Serigraph by Corita

“Corita Kent, also known as Sister Mary Corita, was an artist with an innovative approach to design and education. By the 1960s, her vibrant serigraphs were drawing international acclaim. Corita’s work reflected her concerns about poverty, racism, and war, and her messages of peace and social justice continue to resonate with audiences today.” (corita.org, 2018, para. 1)

Corita (1918-1986) was a Sister at the Immaculate Heart Monastery in Los Angeles and taught at their college. Sister Monica Laughlin, O.S.B.,  music professor at the College for 60 years, lived with the Sisters there and also taught at their college while she attended the University of Southern California earning a doctorate in music education from 1963-66. Sister Monica always maintained these works of art were very important, and they hung for many years in the music library on the third floor of Tower Hall until they were moved here in March 2018.

These two serigraphs or silk screen prints were done in 1966. Corita chose this medium for her art because it could be cheaply mass produced so more people could obtain it. She never numbered her prints because she didn’t want the numbers to place a hierarchy on her work. She frequently layered images and text so reading her prints as curator for her work Susan Dackerman says “becomes an act of mental and physical calisthenics, that calls for slow rigorous scrutiny” (Harvard Magazine, 2015, p. 50).

First Floor:

First Floor: "Green Up" Serigraph by Corita

Can you read the message Corita has for us in this serigraph? Hint: look at the title.

First Floor:

Second Floor: Great East Stained Glass Window by Emil Frei, Inc.

Money for the great east window named Our Lady Queen of Peace was fundraised and given by alumnae and students of the College when the Chapel building was built in 1938. This is quite a feat considering the Great Depression at the time.

The theme for the window is peace, and it is full of symbolism depicting ways peace comes to all peoples through Mary the mother of Jesus such as through conversion to Christianity, the Church and its Sacraments including Baptism and the Anointing of the Sick, and through education. Look for symbols of peace including a rainbow and dove as well as images from nature such as palms, shamrock, vines, and a white lily.

Second Floor: Great East Stained Glass Window by Emil Frei, Inc.

Second Floor: “Northeastern Minnesota: Strong and Beautiful” by Sister Constantina Kakonyi, S.N.D.

Sister Constantina lived in Minnesota from 1950 until 1994, when she returned to Hungary. While at St. Scholastica, she divided her time between teaching and creating art. Her works included prints, large oil paintings and works in enamel, copper and other materials. She generously donated numerous works to the College.

Sister Constantina created this work of art out of hammered copper and stained glass as a gift to President John F. Kennedy when he visited Duluth in September 1963 just two months before he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. She worked from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. every day for two weeks in her studio in the tower of Tower Hall to create this five-panel depiction of natural resources of the Northland. As a Cold War exile from Hungary, Sister Constantina felt a close to connection to Kennedy with their Catholic ties and his dedication to fight Communism. Sadly, Kennedy never received this gift.

Second Floor:  “Northeastern Minnesota: Strong and Beautiful”  by Sister Constantina Kakonyi, S.N.D.

Second Floor: Wood Cut of F. X. Shea by Sister Mary Charles McGough, O.S.B.

Sister Mary Charles McGough, O.S.B. (1925-2007) was an artist, teacher, and head of the College Art Department from 1959 to 1967. She also ran the summer ‘Barn Program’ for 18 years out of the carriage house at the McCabe mansion for children to do creative activities.  Through her long and productive art career, she gained international recognition for her woodcuts, meditative sacred paintings, icons, and works in other media. She designed and carved St. Scholastica's Peace Doors as well as other art on campus.

The Rev. Francis X. Shea, S. J. was the first non-Sister President of the College and served in that role from 1971 until 1974. Even though he had a short tenure here, he accomplished many things including establishing the first varsity sports team – men’s hockey, building the Grove and Pines apartments, implementing the Winton Plan, and introducing programs in Media Studies, Indian Studies, and Physical Therapy.

Second Floor: Wood Cut of F. X. Shea by Sister Mary Charles McGough, O.S.B.

Second Floor: Wood Cut of Abraham Heschel by Bill Morgan

Bill Morgan was an art professor at the University of Wisconsin, Superior and was commissioned to do a woodprint of Dr. Abraham Joshual Heschel, a Jewish theologian. Heschel was was given an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters on November 6, 1972 by The College of St. Scholastica and presented by then College President, F. X. Shea. 

Second Floor: Wood Cut of Abraham Heschel by Bill Morgan

Second Floor: Wood Cut of Elie Wiesel by Sister Mary Charles McGough, O.S.B.

Elie Wiesel was given an honorary degree by The College of St. Scholastica on May 10, 1978. He was a Romanian-born Jew, Holocaust survivor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and author of such books as Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration campus. 

Second Floor: Wood Cut of Elie Wiesel by Sister Mary Charles McGough, O.S.B.

Third Floor: Stained Glass Windows on North and South Sides by Emil Frei, Inc.

Stained glass windows on the south and north sides of the floor are geometric patterns in colors that change to reflect what the sky looks like at that time of day. Churches are typically built on an east west axis, so windows to the east reflect the rosy pinks of dawn, windows in the middle of the floor are straight blue for the noon sky, and windows to the west have golden ambers for sunset. These colors look particularly striking on a sunny day where they shine on the walls, furniture, and floor.

Third Floor: Stained Glass Windows on North and South Sides by Emil Frei, Inc.

Third Floor: Statue of Saint Thomas More

Saint Thomas More lived in Elizabethan England and was a counselor to Henry VIII. He was convicted of treason and beheaded for refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy because he was opposed to the king’s separation from the Catholic Church.

As former President Larry Goodwin wrote about him, “Another example that is particularly powerful in our Christian heritage is Sir Thomas More. When he explains to his wife why he cannot violate his conscience and support King Henry VIII's marriage, he is doing more than explaining: he is providing a living example of integrity. An existential truth is thus stamped with the image of the teacher.” (Times, 2008, p. 2)

Third Floor: Statue of Saint Thomas More

Third Floor: Statue of Cardinal John Newman

Cardinal John Newman was a twentieth-century English poet, theologian, and author. Students in the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin voted on January 21, 1945 to use excess funds they had to purchase a hand-carved statue of Cardinal Newman. “The statue will complement that of Thomas More which occupies one of the niches in the library and which was sponsored by the Sodality several years ago” (Scriptorium, Feb. 14, 1945, p. 1).

“Margaret Stierlin, noted sculptress of Chicago, has been requisitioned to model the ceramic statue of Cardinal Newman to complement that of St. Thomas More for the college library (Scriptorium, Apr. 11, 1945, p. 1). More than 50 pictures of Newman were examined in order to give as accurate a sketch as possible of him along with his coat-of-arms. A special convocation was planned for the summer of 1945 for the centennial of Newman’s conversion. The statue suggests his search for peace after many years of inner conflict finally reaching a state of contentment.

Third Floor: Statue of Cardinal John Newman

Third Floor: Holy Grail Lithographs by Edwin Austin Abbey, R.A.

Wall murals by Edwin Austin Abbey, R.A. (1852-1911) depicting the quest of the Holy Grail from the tales of King Arthur were painted and installed in the Boston Public Library’s book delivery room from 1896 to 1901. The College of St. Scholastica has 15 lithographs of the mural at one-quarter size that were hand-colored by Sister Salome Blais, O.S.B., art instructor at the College from 1914 to 1957. Most of the prints are close to 4 feet tall, and the longest one is over 10 feet in length.

According to articles in the student newspaper, Scriptorium, these are Copley prints donated at different times between the years of 1917 and 1934 by students and graduates of the College. Sister Salome started coloring them in 1934.

These lithographs originally hung in the first floor corridor of Tower Hall from 1935 until 2015 when they were reframed with UV filtering plexiglass for preservation and relocated to the third floor of the Library where they can be displayed in a manner similar to the originals in the Boston Public Library.

Third Floor: Holy Grail Lithographs by Edwin Austin Abbey, R.A.

Third Floor: Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and the Lady Anne by Edwin Austin Abbey

This painting depicts the funeral procession of King Henry VI from William Shakespeare’s play Richard III with the humpbacked Richard in red trying to woo Lady Anne, who is the widow of King Henry VI’s son Edward. Both King Henry VI and Edward were killed by Richard. Richard is depicted attempting to give her a ring claiming that he only killed those men to get close to her. He is ultimately successful becoming both Lady Anne’s husband and the next king of England. Abbey painted this in 1896.

Third Floor: Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and the Lady Anne by Edwin Austin Abbey

Third Floor: Manuscript Book Mural by John Alexander

This painting is part of the Evolution of the Book six-part series by John. W. Alexander located in the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington, D.C. Alexander created this mural series around 1896. The series illustrates the history of how communication and writing has evolved including cairn building, oral tradition, hieroglyphics, picture writing on animal skins, manuscript writing, and the printing press. This painting depicts Cistercian monks working on manuscripts in a scriptorium. 

Third Floor: Manuscript Book Mural by John Alexander