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Bible among “Remarkably Bold, Daringly Different” at Marquette University’s Mission Week

March 1, 2011 - Marquette University’s Mission Week 2011 (Feb. 6-11, 2011) was a community celebration of the “remarkably bold, daringly different” and featured the arrival of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition at the Catholic, Jesuit University. Four volumes of the fine art edition were made available for public viewing in the Alumni Memorial Union during this year’s annual Mission Week, for which the theme was “Imagine God.”

“We are very fortunate — in our digital era — that there is an occasion to welcome a hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible,” Raynor Memorial Libraries Dean Janice Welburn said. “Inspired by the devotion of the monks of Saint John's Abbey, Donald Jackson and his team of artists and scholars have produced a remarkable and timeless work, a multivolume Bible that is, in the words of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, ‘a work for eternity.’ ”

Prior to the public viewing of Wisdom Books, Prophets, Psalms and Pentateuch, The Saint John’s Bible was introduced at an opening Mass. In a homily preached by John P. Fitzgibbon S.J., Fr. Fitzgibbons, the university’s associate provost of faculty development said The Saint John’s Bible is a work of imagination and beauty and an opportunity for the Marquette community to reflect on its mission. “The arrival of The Saint John’s Bible was given a pointed and elegant place in our Mission Week celebration as it was processed in during the entrance rites at the start of Mass,” he preached.

The week also included a discussion on the Bible’s creation and importance by Fr. Eric Hollas, OSB, of Saint John’s University, and Susan Wood, SCL, chair and professor of Marquette’s Department of Theology and former faculty member at Saint John’s School of Theology•Seminary and a member of The Saint John’s Bible Committee on Illumination and Text, and Matt Blessing, head of Marquette’s Special Collections. Fr. Eric also led an evening of prayer and reflection with Scripture read from the Bible.

The Heritage Edition volumes will be preserved and permanently displayed in the Prucha Archives Reading Room on the third floor of the Raynor Memorial Libraries. A different illumination will be displayed each day. The university will receive the remaining three volumes as they become available.

Marquette Libraries' Department of Special Collections preserves many renowned Catholic research collections, including Jesuit mission records, the Catholic Worker Archives, and the papers of J.R.R. Tolkien. “We also recognize that high-end facsimiles and fine art reproductions possess significant research value, and most importantly, instructional value for undergraduates,” said Blessing.

Marquette plans to introduce the Heritage Edition to junior high and senior high school students in the Milwaukee area. Students will have an opportunity to examine a set of medieval antiphonals, a 15th century book from Gutenberg's press, and (coming full circle) The Saint John's Bible.

“Our annual "Mission Week" programming offered an ideal opportunity to introduce the Heritage edition to the university community, including faculty from many academic disciplines, plus staff from student affairs and campus ministry,” said Blessing. “Simply put, Marquette University purchased a Heritage Edition to be used.”

Each February, the Marquette University community pauses to reflect on its Catholic, Jesuit mission. Mission Week is the time set aside to recall its larger purpose and the Ignatian heritage and spirituality that guides the community throughout the year. To read more, read a Marquette University alumni magazine web exclusive.