The Scribe

Page 1




>> inside

A Year with The Saint John’s Bible Celebration with Bible in Sacramento What’s the Point of Handwriting? Q&A with Fr. Robert Koopmann, OSB Gospels and Acts Volume Complete

The Newsletter of the Heritage Edition —

Calendar of Events

The Fine Art Edition of The Saint John’s Bible

Heritage Edition Unveiled at University of Michigan’s Library On Friday, January 20, 2012 the University of Michigan Library, together with the University of Michigan College of Engineering, celebrated the unveiling of the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible. The library’s acquisition of the Heritage Edition, along with the deluxe viewing stand and cabinet, was made possible by a gift to the College of Engineering from Carlos R. and Clara Quintanilla. Carlos is president and owner of Quintanilla, Hache y Asociados (QHYA), a family business that focuses on investments in the Mexican financial Carlos, Clara Quintanilla and their sons, services industry and on development of Carlos Antonio and Andres with the Psalms Heritage Edition volume gifted to the industrial parks in the United States. University of Michigan Library. He is a leader in the financial services Photo by Daryl Marshke. industry in Monterrey, Mexico and a member of the University of Michigan College of Engineering’s Engineering Advisory Council. Clara is a leader in the fields of education and personal development. Her work has extended to Paul N. Courant, mass media as a radio interviewer and University television interviewer and producer. She Librarian devotes her time to family real-estate and Dean of projects. Two of their three children Libraries. Photo by Daryl attended the College of Engineering. Marshke. The celebration took place in the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery on the University of Michigan’s central campus. On display for the 130 guests were four volumes of the Heritage Edition (the three remaining volumes will be added to the library’s collection once they are complete). One of the four volumes was part of an exhibit in the U-M Library’s Audubon Room, Sacred Hands, comprising manuscripts from the collection — many of them ancient documents on papyrus — with texts of the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. T he U niversity


M ichigan L ibrary

continued on page



Programming Opportunities for Transformation The illuminations of The Saint John’s Bible may draw us in for their spiritual beauty and aesthetic appeal, but visio divina unlocks their potential to transform the heart and mind. Our spiritual imagination is ignited as we pray with the illuminations, visual commentaries on the Word. As we turn our eyes to the image, our hearts are turned towards Christ, and we allow ourselves to listen deeply to the Word and the Spirit’s movements within it. This powerful experience is one of the outreach goals of Saint John’s School of Theology•Seminary. It seems like a tall order: teaching visio divina to people of different ages and different backgrounds who are looking for different things. But all we really have to do is teach them the process of visio divina, and before they know it they are being uniquely transformed by the Spirit. As we have traveled the country to give presentations, train facilitators, and lead group visio divina, we have seen time and time again that a willingness to enter into this prayer form, with its ancient roots and its modern practice, yields abundant spiritual fruit. One of our earliest programs was Praying with Imagination, which we have continued right up to 2012’s two retreats (July 29-Aug 3 and Nov 4-9). At these P rogramming O pportunities continued on page 3

2 |

Featured News

the scribe

T he U niversity


M ichigan L ibrary 1

continued from page

University Librarian and Dean of Libraries Paul Courant said, “It is really a thrill to present to the public for the first time the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible, which is now part of the University of Michigan Library collection. And it’s a great honor for us to present it in conjunction with our Sacred Hands exhibit.” David C. Munson, Jr., the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, lauded the achievement of producing a handwritten and illuminated Bible, pointing out that “The Saint John’s Bible is the first such work since the advent of the printing press.” He added that the library’s Heritage Edition — one of only 299 that will be produced — is the first in the state of Michigan. In addition, John and Camille Amoruso, both graduates of the University of Michigan, traveled from Houston, Texas to attend the event. Their gift established an endowment fund for the preservation of the Heritage Edition and other Bibles in the Special Collections Library. The Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible is now on display in the University of Michigan Library’s Special Collections Library. [Lynne Raughley, Interim Communications Director at the University of Michigan Library with contributions from Lin Cargo.]

A Year with The Saint John’s Bible A Year with The Saint John’s Bible was designed to give your institution the opportunity to learn more about The Saint John’s Bible; to investigate how the Heritage Edition can be an expression of your institution’s mission; and to learn how the volumes can be used in academics, special collections, campus ministry, and the fine arts. The program is simple. With a program fee of $5,000, Saint John’s University will present two volumes of the Heritage Edition to your institution for one year. To support this commitment, Saint John’s will host a two-day training workshop for one or more of your representatives. The training will include: •

I n depth immersion on The Saint John’s Bible by Tim Ternes, director of The Saint John’s Bible.

Review of best practices in displaying and sharing The Saint John’s Bible.

• Overview on the proper care and use instructions of the Heritage Edition. • Introductions to key members of The Saint John’s Bible team. • Introduction to Seeing the Word program by Saint John’s School of Theology•Seminary. •

Review of the marketing and media opportunities with The Saint John’s Bible.

Review of best practices in fundraising to acquire the Heritage Edition.

“An anonymous benefactor made the acquisition of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition possible for Saint Peter’s College. The stunning beauty of each illumination, each volume, and the scope of the entire project caught our benefactor’s imagination

Photo courtesy of Saint Peter College.

and he and his wife were eager to explore the possibilities with us. And the fact that the acquisition was not just a set of rare books to be kept under lock and key, but rather, to be taken out, shared, used as a magnificent proclamation of the Good News in liturgies, retreats, prayer groups, and scholarly workshops helped finalize the deal, not only for our benefactor but for the college community as well.” — Michael Braden, S.J., Vice President for Mission and Ministry

Fr. Eric Hollas, OSB visits with Camille and John Amoruso at the University of Michigan’s Heritage Edition unveiling celebration. Photo by Daryl Marshke.

To support your fundraising and educational efforts, Saint John’s will provide a guest speaker and an exhibition of illuminated Heritage Edition pages at no extra cost. In addition, Saint John’s will host a one-day open house — at your institution — for students, faculty and staff. The price of the seven-volume Heritage Edition is $145,000. If your institution decides to acquire the set, the $5,000 program fee will be applied to the balance and the remaining payments will be made according to a mutually agreed upon schedule. To register for the program or to schedule an informational meeting on your campus, contact Kerry Werlinger at or 320-363-2611.

the scribe

P rogramming O pportunities


T ransformation

continued from page

| 3


art to be enjoyed. It was created to transform. Where else is the Word of God combined with such breathtaking beauty, such poignant ideas, and such powerful calls to contemplation and action? Time spent in study, prayer, and reflection with the illuminations is “fuel for the fire” and has the power to transform us. Visio divina brings the Bible to life in a fresh way, something the original authors would likely appreciate. If they were alive today, I dare say they might prefer our manuscript to their own. Photo by Michael Becker.

retreats guests come for a week, pray with The Saint John’s Bible, learn how to share its spirituality with others, and follow in its footsteps as they create their own spiritual art. Those who come to these retreats are transformed and renewed, and often make remarks similar to this one from last fall: “Art (and imagination, too, I hope) has become a way of life for me. I will continue to practice and pray I will be open to sharing as the Spirit leads.” For those who cannot make the trip to Collegeville for an entire week, the Seeing the Word program gets at the heart of this retreat experience. A facilitator uses one of 20 different four-page Reflection Guides to guide people through the process. Participants listen and meditate on Scripture, see with eyes of faith as they gaze on illuminations, pray to God, contemplate the Spirit’s movements, and reflect how they might further become Christ-like. These are the movements of visio divina. The Illuminating Ministry Journals are books that break open stories of ministry life. The journals combine personal stories of ministry, the illuminations of The Saint John’s Bible, Benedictine charisms, and personal reflection. At their heart is the same engagement with the illuminated Word, visio divina.

Recently, we have even begun outreach over the Internet. On our Facebook page we share stories, reflections, and prayers in a variety of formats. After all, The Saint John’s Bible was meant to be a Bible for the 21st century. Our newest program, Connect, lives this out by bringing visio divina to young adults. Personal narratives, prayer with The Saint John’s Bible, and teachings presented by School of Theology•Seminary theologians are brought together in HD video right on the website ( The Bible was not written merely as a text to be analyzed, and The Saint John’s Bible was not crafted merely as a work of

[Taylor Morgan is Project Coordinator for Formation & Outreach at Saint John’s School of Theology·Seminary. He codirects the summer Praying with Imagination retreat and directs the Connect: Young Adult program. He received his M.A. in Theology from Saint John’s School of Theology•Seminary. He can be reached at with comments or questions.] Taylor Morgan Photo by Paul Middlestaedt.

Praying with Imagination

July 29 – August 3 or November 4 – 9, 2012 Saint John’s Abbey Guesthouse Seeing the Word Illuminating Ministry Journal, Volumes I & II Connect: Young Adults (free sample Topic available)

44 ||

t th he e s sc cr r ii b be e

Noted & Celebrated

Christian Unity Week Celebration with the Bible in Sacramento Four Heritage Edition volumes of The Saint John’s Bible were on exhibit at an ecumenical worship service at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in downtown Sacramento in January. Thanks to excellent coverage by the Sacramento Bee and local television stations, the Cathedral was filled to capacity for a celebration of the Word and sacred music and imagery. Rev. Michael Kiernan, rector of the Cathedral, said, “This Bible indicates the relevance of God’s word today and the beauty of it. This is the highlight of Christian Unity Week; it brings faiths together around the word of God.”

Photos of the ecumenical service by Moly Jose Thekkekara. Photos of the Heritage Edition on display by © Manny Crisostomo/The Sacramento Bee/


What’s the point of handwriting? One English teacher explores the question after an emotional discovery of his old school notebooks

Not so long ago, I found myself shuffling through a couple of old boxes which had lain gathering dust in my parents’ house since my teens. In amongst the debris — posters of Debbie Harry and Kenny Dalglish, yellowing copies of “Roy of the Rovers” — I came across an ageing school notebook, from History to be precise. Flicking through, I found myself amazed at how neat and tidy my teenage self was, displayed in the carefully sketched Egyptian huts and hieroglyphics, and how carefully crafted my handwriting appeared to be. Clearly concerned with impressing my teacher, the writing was perfectly shaped, beautifully presented and, I have to say, hugely impressive. More importantly, however, it was conclusively, undeniably, irreconcilably mine. While I didn’t quite clutch it to my chest, rocking in the foetal position, weeping for days long since lost to me, I saw a little piece of my life at that point. Future teacher, future blogger. It’s dying out though, isn’t it? Beyond the classroom, we just don’t write with a pen or pencil any more, do we? We text, we tweet, we blog. We even type. We don’t write though. Before I started teaching I don’t recall picking up a pen in any meaningful way. So when I threw out the question, “What’s the point of handwriting?” on Twitter recently, I wasn’t completely convinced by many of the responses I got in reply. Everyone agreed that, yes, handwriting was important but few could pin it down to any one reason: and I think that is a problem when we are trying to convince our students. In reality, of course, it is ludicrous to say that teaching handwriting is irrelevant. There is far too much evidence out there which reveals the cognitive benefits. Handwriting improves the development of motor-skills and is absolutely

the scribe

| 5

crucial in enhancing hand/eye coordination. Despite the speed of typing — writer Robert Frisk bemoans the fact that only typing can keep up with his ideas — the practice of slowing down and thinking about our thoughts in order to write them with a pen or pencil uses more brain power. Educationally I think the case is irrefutable. So, why do we, supposedly, believe that handwriting is getting worse in this technological age? Our students are not convinced by the educational arguments, clearly. In the state of Indiana, cursive writing will no longer be taught in its primary schools. Soon more and more students will, inevitably, be able to take examinations online. Our younger generation are not buying into the importance of handwriting in order to write post-its or “thank you” cards. The huge problem we have as educators is to convince students that it is, perhaps, the most personal, creative, individual thing they will ever learn to do. Returning to my history notebook, what struck me about my handwriting was that it hasn’t changed much over the last thirty-odd years. Even the attempts at practising my signature on the inside back cover hasn’t advanced that much. After a conversation I had recently with Islay High teacher Russell Pollock, (@RussellPollock) I became convinced that handwriting was a very personal piece of art. He is a Technical teacher and argues that creating drawings with pencil in his subject is important in the face of advancing technology as they are pieces of art in their own right. And isn’t that a great way of thinking about our own handwriting? That’s why kids today still practise their autographs on the back of their notebooks, in preparation for that moment when they leave the stage at T in the Park, or walk out of Ibrox, Parkhead, Anfield, Old Trafford. Each one different: each one individual: each one a little piece of art. There is nothing more personal and creative and artistic than our handwriting, nothing that leaves more of a little piece of ourselves behind. Can you imagine not being able to read the letters of soldiers in the First World War or Titanic victims? The genuine raw emotion of those words would be lost forever. I found a little piece of my own history when I came across the old notebook. Wouldn’t it be a shame if that same opportunity were to be denied to future generations? [Kenny Pieper teaches English at secondary school in Scotland and lives in Glasgow. He has been teaching for 12 years and loves learning, reading about others learning and trying to improve. He has a season ticket for Partick Thistle and can be followed on Twitter as @kennypieper and his blog can be found here.] © Guardian News & Media Ltd 2011.

66 ||

t th he e s sc cr r ii b be e

First Person Fr. Robert Koopmann, OSB

“I believe that great art always inspires future attempts at great art.” Fr. Robert Koopmann, OSB, has served as President of Saint John’s University since 2009. During Fr. Bob’s term, Donald Jackson and his team completed work on The Saint John’s Bible and Fr. Bob helped celebrate that momentous event both in Wales and in Collegeville. Upon completion of his presidential term this summer, Fr. Bob will begin a sabbatical at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.

Q: The Saint John’s Bible is a monumental undertaking that took 15 years to complete. When Donald and Mabel Jackson presented the final pages last June, what were your thoughts as you burnished the gold cross on the last page of Revelation?

A: During that wonderful ceremony, I couldn’t help but think of the thousands of hours of artistic work that went into the creation of this masterpiece, and that it was finally finished! I further thought of Brother Dietrich, who was a driving force in getting this project started. I am certain he was with us that day and that he was smiling down on us all.


s an accomplished classical pianist, former chair of the A music department, and division head of fine arts at Saint John’s, you have a unique appreciation of the arts and the creative process. Do you believe The Saint John’s Bible will inspire future artists to take up their quills, paintbrushes, violins, etc.?

A: The Bible will certainly inspire more creative endeavors, as well as collaborations among the arts. A performance by the choir of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London is an example of an inspirational concert that paired contemporary sacred music along with projections of some of the Bible’s breathtaking illuminations. I believe that great art always inspires future attempts at great art.


What part of this project has been the biggest surprise?

A: I was fortunate to be able to visit Donald Jackson’s Scriptorium in Wales. I found myself comparing this work to the type of art that I know best — music. Many people would be surprised at the many hours of practice I must put into preparation of a great work of music for a concert presentation, as well as the many ways I need to practice in order to hear all the musical lines and “voice out” the most important one. I was likewise surprised and moved by the many pieces which go into both the calligraphy and the illustrations in the Bible —everything from measuring out the letters and words so they fit the line, to the many layers of technique needed to bring the illustrations to life. It was an amazing and very complex process!

Q: The Saint John’s Bible is a gift to the world from the monks at Saint John’s. What has The Saint John’s Bible meant to Saint John’s Abbey?

A: The Saint John’s Bible is already a part of our major liturgies; it is displayed prominently and used for readings. Its use will only grow as time goes on and more volumes of the Heritage Edition are published. Although Saint John’s Abbey already has an international reputation in liturgy and theology, the Bible is bringing us additional attention, which we hope will help us further our mission of service in the world.

the scribe

Production Notes Printing of Gospels and Acts Volume Complete On March 24, 2012, the printing of the Gospels and Acts volume of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition was complete. This volume contains some of the most recognizable and iconic imagery in The Saint John’s Bible and has been eagerly awaited since the printing of the Heritage Edition began. While getting the color right was not easy, the most difficult part of producing this volume would turn out to be determining the gold and silver treatments the pages would receive. At the Scriptorium in Wales, during December and January, Donald Jackson and Sarah Harris worked to decide what gold and silver treatments would adorn the pages of the volume. The results of their work will be impressive. Pages in this volume will contain three different gold treatments, two different silver treatments, hand-sanding by Harris, and embossing. Other pages will receive a new treatment Jackson is calling “undulation” which manipulates the paper to stretch it, causing it to behave in much the same way as vellum. This process creates visual interest in a unique way and was under development even in the final days of the printing. While there is still a long way to go to produce the Gospels and Acts volume, it is very exciting to have the printing of the volume complete. Now, while we anxiously await the printing of Letters and Revelation in August, the pages of Gospels and Acts will come alive as they receive their final treatments. Delivery is expected in September of 2012. [Craig Bruner is the Operations Consultant for the Heritage Edition.]

Donald Jackson and Sarah Harris meet with the John Roberts press team. Photo by Craig Bruner, ©2012 SSAI.

“While getting the color right was not easy, the most difficult part of producing this volume would turn out to be determining the gold and silver treatments the pages would receive.”


| 7

8 |

the scribe

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Saint John’s Univ.

Saint John’s University Heritage Program PO Box 7222 Collegeville, MN 56321

To see a complete listing of Saint John’s Bible events, visit: and click on “See the Bible.” You can also follow the journey of The Saint John’s Bible on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Regular updates, advance notices of new publications and photos of new illuminations can all be found on these social media sites.

Calendar of Events Upcoming Events Featuring the Heritage Edition, Framed Prints and the Original Manuscript Print Exhibitions

Original Manuscript October 23, 2011 – December 31, 2012 Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible-An Epic Work of Art For the first time in New Mexico, selected pieces from the monumental work are on display at the New Mexico History Museum. This exhibit serves as a companion to Contemplative Landscape, an original exhibition of photography depicting New Mexico’s sacred spaces.

July 2, 2012 – January 13, 2013 Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible: Ancient Artifacts•Timeless Treasures Six original pages from The Saint John’s Bible will be part of an exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls beginning this summer at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. This exhibition will showcase one of the most comprehensive presentations of Dead Sea Scroll fragments ever assembled, and Saint John’s University is proud to have been asked to be a part of this show. Guests visiting the exhibition will have the opportunity to see The Saint John’s Bible original pages of Creation, Ten Commandments and the Psalms Frontispiece. For more information about the exhibition or to order tickets, visit

June 1, 2012 through July 1, 2012 (10 prints) Miller Nichols Library University of Missouri-Kansas City Kansas City, MO June 11 – July 13, 2012 (17 prints) Mount Aloysius College Cresson, PA October 15 – November 15, 2012 (10 Heritage Edition prints and 2 Heritage Edition volumes) St. Ann’s Catholic Church Midland, TX

About our Exhibitions: Heritage Edition exhibitions feature Heritage Edition framed prints and/or Heritage Edition volumes. Print exhibitions feature framed high-quality, fine art gicleé prints. Exhibitions of the original manuscript are a unique opportunity to see unbound pages of the original artwork.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.