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Saint Mary’s houses rare Bible

Alicia Smith | Thursday, August 26, 2010

Saint Mary’s College is the new home for a reproduction of the Saint John’s Bible, a book worth about $145,000, comprised of seven volumes, and nearly two feet tall when all seven volumes are stacked upon one another.

After being blessed at the College’s opening Mass Wednesday morning, a reproduction of the Bible was presented to the Cushwa-Leighton Library, where it will be be displayed permanently.

“It’s a physical treasure, its beauty, its craftsmanship,” the College’s president, Carol Ann Mooney, said. “But because it’s also a book containing the Word of God, it’s so appropriate for it to have a home at Saint Mary’s.”

The Bible, which is the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible, was a gift from Judy Rauenhorst Mahoney, a 1974 graduate of the College.

“I thought ‘Oh, I love books, I love Saint Mary’s, I really need to get the word out about this wonderful book,'” Mahoney said. “Here at Saint Mary’s College, it can be an influence on students, faculty and the broader South Bend community.”

The book is composed of seven volumes; however, only four volumes were presented to the College Wednesday. The other three volumes will be presented after they are completed.

Each day, the librarians will choose a new page of the Bible to display, said Fr. Eric Hollas, senior associate for Arts and Cultural Affairs at Saint John University.

“As they change the pages each day and alternate volumes, people will read pages just to meditate on that passage in the Bible,” Hollas said. “Other people are going to be interested because of the art. Other people are going to be interested just because it’s a masterpiece.

“With the changes in the pages every day, there’s always something new to look at, something new to appreciate.”

Hollas said he hopes the Bible will still draw attention for years to come.

“My hope is that in a thousand years from now, people will be looking at it,” Hollas said.