Library to Host Presentation on Relic Collection of Burchard Villiger, S.J.

Friday, November 16, 2012

by Marie Vitale '14

On Friday, Nov 30, Carmen Croce, director of the Scholarly Press and Curator of the University Art Collection, will give a brief presentation on the latest exhibit on display at the Post Learning Commons of Drexel Library. The presentation will begin at noon in the Wachterhauser Seminar Room, 2nd floor Post Learning Commons, and a light lunch will be served afterwards.

The exhibit, titled “Memory and Devotion: The Relic Collection of Burchard Villiger, S.J.,” features some 45 relics and reliquaries from the collection of Saint Joseph’s fifth president (1868-93) and second founder. Croce will explain how Villiger got most of his relics from Rome during the 19th century, and eventually accumulated one of the largest collections in America. Villiger left hundreds of relics to the Church of the Gesù at St. Joseph’s Prep, Old St. Joseph’s Church, and Saint Joseph’s University. The exhibit also features a printed guide to understanding the Catholic Church’s teaching on the veneration of relics; the history of the tradition; Fr. Villiger’s motives in collecting relics and bringing them to Philadelphia; sacred and secular relics, power politics and national identity; and the direct links from relics in church treasuries to modern museums.

Croce assembled this exhibit to coincide with the completion of Villiger Hall, the University’s newest residence hall which opened this fall, as well as the recent canonization of seven new saints, including a Jesuit, during this month of All Souls.

The exhibit may be viewed in the Special Collection Rooms on the 3rd floor of the Post Learning Commons through December. 

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