The Scribe

Page 1

Winter 2011


The Newsletter of the Heritage Edition–The Fine Art Edition of The Saint John’s Bible

Photo by Mark Trockman

Arrival of The Saint John’s Bible is Symbolic for Two Institutions, One Library

The Pentateuch volume on display at St. Bartholomew Catholic Faith Community.

Artisans’ Collaboration Sheds Light on Fine Art Edition Illuminations By Dave McIntosh


or the past five years, McIntosh Embossing has teamed with Donald Jackson and Saint John’s University to help create the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible. After each page is printed by The John Roberts Company in Minneapolis, we receive the pages and apply the gold and silver treatments that are part of the Bible’s numerous illuminations. Imagine our joy at this assignment! The Heritage Edition gives us an opportunity to work as artisans in cooperation with a world-renowned artist. And Donald Jackson is a joyful partner, eminently approachable, eager to share his vision and help refine our techniques toward that purpose. He has spent time on

our press floor, hosted me at his Wales scriptorium, and met with us for hours to guide the small details of art direction. His familiarity with us, and our process, can be disarming. I was shocked once when, during a discussion of a particularly vexing image, he asked, “Can you put Jimmy on the phone? Maybe he can do that trick with the rough paper backing.” He and Jim, one of our senior pressmen, then had an animated five minute conversation about technique. Donald’s penchant for retaining arcane detail, and his charming skill of persuasion, knows no bounds. Right from the start, Donald articulated that our task was not to blindly parrot the original illuminations. For Donald, the see Production Notes on page 4


een as symbolic of further fostering a unique academic partnership, the College of Notre Dame and Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, Md., have received and will share a fine art edition of The Saint John’s Bible. The volumes will be part of special collections at the Loyola/Notre Dame Library, a jointly held library which serves both institutions. The Loyola/Notre Dame Library introduced the Heritage Edition to the two communities with the installation of the exhibit “The Saint John’s Bible: Inspiration and Illumination,” which began on Oct. 25 and ran through Dec. 3 in the Ferguson Gallery. As part of the exhibit, a faculty forum was held on Nov. 8 featuring five faculty members of College of Notre Dame’s Religious Studies Department and Loyola University’s Department of Theology. The forum panel presented Isaiah 53 “The Suffering Servant” from the Prophets volume to a standing-room-only audience of faculty, students and friends. The response to the forum was overwhelmingly positive and faculty members are encouraging library staff to “do more of this.” continued on page 2

“The scope, richness and size of The Saint John’s Bible is so powerful. It will serve our institutions’ scholarly community in so many ways,” said John McGinty, library director. “The Bible will be organic to our collection and will complement our large circulation in religious and biblical studies.” For the introductory exhibit and forum, the library created an impressive graphics display including large banners and framed prints of The Saint John’s Bible illuminations. According to McGinty, the library plans to permanently exhibit the volumes where they will be used and not just viewed. The arrival of the fine art edition in Baltimore and at Loyola/Notre Dame Library is unique in many ways. First, this is the first time two separately incorporated institutions have formally agreed to share the Heritage Edition. Second, The Saint John’s Bible is now home in the Archdiocese

Photo courtesy of Loyola/Notre Dame Library

Two Institutions, continued from page 1

A guest at Loyola/Notre Dame Library pages through the Psalms volume while another guest visits with David Allaway of The Saint John's Bible Heritage Program.

of Baltimore, the first archdiocese established in the United States in 1789. Last, because of its location in the city of Baltimore, its place between the two campuses and its proximity to Johns Hopkins University, the Loyola/College of Notre Dame Library staff sees many opportunities to share the Bible and offer programming both on and off campus.

In 2009, the Walters Art Museum exhibited “The Saint John's Bible: A Modern Vision through Medieval Methods,” which included folios from the original manuscript (Prophets and Wisdom Books). After Los Angeles and Phoenix, Baltimore is the third largest U.S. city to have a fine art edition of The Saint John’s Bible. To learn more, visit


haminade University, Hawaii’s only Catholic university, has received a fine art edition of The Saint John's Bible. The Bible, a gift from Mrs. Joanna Lau Sullivan and family, was presented on Nov. 19 at a blessing ceremony at the Chaminade University Sullivan Family Library. The service also included the blessing of a new Stations of the Cross for the Humanities area. Fr. Eric Hollas, OSB, senior associate for arts and cultural affairs at Saint John’s University, took part in the service. During the Bible’s blessing Fr. George Cerniglia, SM, presider and associate rector, said, “The word of God, proclaimed in the sacred Scripture, enlightens our minds and hearts. When the Scriptures are read, either privately or publicly, God speaks to us and calls us to respond in faith and love. We gather this afternoon to bless and reverence this extraordinary


Bible.” Chaminade plans to use the seven volumes in those liturgies marking events of greatest significance in campus life, such as graduations and installations. Chaminade will also make it available for use by the Diocese of Honolulu for similar occasions, such as the annual Red Mass for Hawaii’s political leaders and the opening of the academic year Mass with the Catholic school teachers. The Heritage Edition will be displayed on the main floor of the Sullivan Family Library, the latest addition to the campus. The 30,000 square foot structure is the largest academic facility built at Chaminade since its founding. Located in Honolulu near Waikiki Beach, Chaminade University was founded in 1955 by the Marianists, members of the Catholic Society of Mary.

Photo courtesy of Chaminade University.

Hawaii’s Chaminade University Celebrates Gift of the Bible

Larry Osborne, Chaminade University provost (left), with members of the Chaminade University Board of Regents, John Brogan (front) and Amy Jampel.

A New Program to “See” The Saint John’s Bible


Barbara Sutton (middle), editor for Seeing the Word, leads a group through a Seeing the Word session at Saint John’s School of Theology•Seminary.

Theology•Seminary. “The Heritage Edition holds the possibility of drawing people deeper into the Scripture, igniting their imagination, transforming lives and strengthening discipleship. Seeing the Word is a resource for those who have acquired the Heritage Edition to make the illuminated text come alive for people; rather than simply being an artistic masterpiece.” Sutton said for the Heritage Edition to be a spiritual asset for the church, college or university, it must be prayed wholeheartedly as well as simply viewed for its beauty. “There is a temptation to do visio with The Saint John’s Bible,” she explains. “Visio without divina, is more seeing and less prayer. Used over time and in a systematic way, Seeing the Word helps realize the greatest hopes and dreams of both the donor and the recipient — to make the Bible the living word of God in the lives of people and to gain a greater depth of understanding of the Gospel’s mission for the church today.” Developed and produced by Saint John’s School of Theology•Seminary in collaboration with Liturgical Press, the program consists of 30 reflection guides

Photos by Michael Becker

or more than a decade, people of all faiths have looked for opportunities to experience, see and spend time with the words and images of The Saint John’s Bible. A journey that began in 1999 with one illumination on vellum under glass today has grown into dozens of national and international exhibitions and fine art edition presentations as well as the sales of trade editions and other Saint John’s Biblerelated products. Now this sacred gift of art is the inspiration of a study program that combines the illuminations and text with the prayer practice of visio divina, “divine seeing.” The program, Seeing the Word, aims to touch hearts and renew spirits by connecting individuals, groups and ministry settings with the illuminated Bible. Short reflection guides feature several Scripture passages and illuminations from The Saint John’s Bible, guiding participants through the various stages of meditative and communal prayer that make up visio divina. One of the values of The Saint John’s Bible is to ignite the spiritual imagination of believers throughout the world and Seeing the Word helps carry out this value. Whether Seeing the Word becomes a counterpart to a church or community’s faith formation or retreat programs or an opportunity for individuals, study groups and classes to study and experience the Bible, it is a resource for any institution that desires to experience the text and illuminations of the fine art edition volumes more deeply. “For many Catholics, the Holy Bible has not been central to their lives. Our Bible often holds the family memories through records of the reception of sacraments or holding prayer cards of deceased loved ones. Otherwise, few have been inspired to delve into them,” said Barbara Sutton, associate dean of formation and outreach for Saint John’s University School of

"Sower and the Seed" is just one of the 30 reflection guides being developed as part of the Seeing the Word program.

to be rolled out over a three-year period, along with facilitator’s guides, program manuals, and resource DVDs. For more information about Seeing the Word, visit or contact Barbara Sutton at


production notes

These images show the process of foil embossing and embossed pages from the Psalms, Pentateuch and Wisdom Books volumes.

Artisans’ Collaboration Sheds Light, continued from page 1

“Within minutes, and with Donald’s gracious forbearance, we desecrated his silk hanky, draping pieces of it across our machines, transferring its fine texture to the foil on the printed page.” Dave McIntosh McIntosh Embossing, Inc.


Heritage Edition needed to be a work of art by itself, worthy of being judged on its own merits. He warned that our machined foil could veer towards the garish if used indelicately. “Less is more, can’t you see?” he has told us, more than once, “After all, this can’t look like a greeting card.” In time, we understood his point intuitively, often anticipating his choices, even advocating ideas of our own. In our daily commercial work, we diligently make our foiled images precise and consistent. Donald asked us to leave that aesthetic behind. When examined closely, the gold and platinum treatments on the original rarely look smooth, polished or perfected. Evidence of the artist’s hand can be seen in every illumination: in the roughness of the gesso, in the varied sheen of an incomplete burnish, or the imprecise edge of a piece of gold leaf, and our work needed to embrace that. Each illumination is a unique piece of art, crafted by different hands. Besides, these nearly imperceptible variations change how the illuminations reflect light, giving the reader constant variety. Our biggest challenge, then, was to replicate that hand-hewn look, embracing

inconsistency while being accurate to the art direction. Our first major step, before production began, was to create a primer of textures, literally a bound notebook of different foil surfaces that Donald could reference. We used sandpapers, steel wool rubs, nail and screw heads, and various other tools to vary the foil’s appearance, incorporating our own handcrafting into the process to match the handwork of the original. Donald referenced the primer constantly early on, establishing a working palette and vocabulary that we have used throughout the project. Weeks before stamping the inaugural page and after reviewing the primer we created for him, Donald made an impromptu visit to our plant, knowing we were experimenting with a Heritage Edition proof that day. While reviewing our progress, he asked if we might offer another texture, another “arrow in his quiver” of art direction. Somewhat stumped, we asked how he created the textures we saw on the original pages. Without hesitation, he pulled a silk Liberty of London handkerchief from his breast pocket and showed us how he rubbed his gold with the silk, burnishing the metallic

Photos by David McIntosh and Terry Anderson Photography.

production notes

sheen, sometimes even impressing the silked weave in the moist gesso. Within minutes, and with Donald’s gracious forbearance, we desecrated his silk hanky, draping pieces of it across our machines, transferring its fine texture to the foil on the printed page. This serendipitous exchange resulted in a new entry in the primer, and a lovely new texture used throughout the Heritage Edition. As we proceed through the volumes, we continue to modify and re-imagine our work. The work never stagnates. Each volume’s illuminations require new techniques, and so our palette continues to expand. In early 2010, as Donald was creating some of

the final illuminations for The Saint John’s Bible, he called me from Wales to warn me that even as he was illuminating the original, he was imagining how he would recreate the illumination in the Heritage Edition. “I should warn you,” he said mischievously, no doubt through a wry smile, “you’ll have your hands full with this one!” I have little doubt he was already looking forward to the challenge.

Finishing of the Heritage Edition Featured InsideFinishing, the official magazine of the Foil & Specialty Effects Association (FSEA), which reaches a readership of more 7,000 graphic finishers, featured The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition in its Nov./ Dec. 2010 issue. The cover story, “Foil Illuminates Sacred Manuscript,” is an in-depth story on illuminating and finishing the fine art edition pages, which tested the “outer limits of foil textures.” To read more, visit Donald Jackson and embosser Dave McIntosh during a press check at The John Roberts Company.


Photo by Mark Trockman

Hundreds gathered to get an up-close look at The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition as it was welcomed into the St. Bartholomew Parish on Oct. 31.

First Parish, Elementary School Receives Fine Art Edition


t. Bartholomew Catholic Faith Community in Wayzata, Minn., is the first parish community with a preschool through sixth grade program in the nation as well as in Minnesota (the home of The Saint John’s Bible), to receive a fine art edition of Bible. The parish, a community of nearly 1,300 families, plans to use the volumes in educational programming, days of reflection and other opportunities for prayer. “This is not intended to be a precious artifact locked up and admired from afar,” said Fr. Michael Reding, pastor of St. Bartholomew. He continued, “It’s our hope that The Saint John’s Bible will be used regularly by the St. Bart’s community and other people of faith from throughout the Twin Cities area.” The parish community officially received the gift of The Saint John’s Bible on October 30 and 31. Fr. Michael Patella, OSB, associate dean and rector of Saint John’s University School of Theology•Seminary, and a member of The Saint John’s Bible Committee on Illumination and Text, gave the homily


at a Sunday Mass that also included a rite of reception and blessing and dedication. St. Bartholomew welcomed the first four of the Heritage Edition’s seven volumes — Wisdom Books, Psalms, Prophets and Pentateuch. In reference to the Sunday Gospel reading from Luke 19:1-10, Fr. Patella spoke of Jesus reaching out to the loathed chief tax collector Zacchaeus. “We Christians, Catholics, Protestants, along with our Eastern brothers and sisters, are all Zacchaeus, and as Zacchaeus, we seek salvation in Christ … By taking on the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible, you are also taking on Christ’s ministry to every Zacchaeus in the world, a ministry not of shame but of honor. Now that you have the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible in this church, every Zacchaeus from Duluth to Decorah and beyond will be climbing the trees to get a glimpse of it,” Fr. Patella said to the congregation. Likewise, an ecumenical service “Illuminated by God’s Word: An Ecumenical Service Celebrating The Saint John’s Bible” was celebrated on Nov. 9 to

share the Bible with the larger community. The occasion included a multi-media service of Scripture, music and projected illuminations from The Saint John’s Bible. Area clergy representing several faith communities took part in the service. The service was attended by more than 200 people from several area churches. Parishioners John and Nancy Berg donated the Heritage Edition to St. Bartholomew to share with the entire faith community. “St. Thomas Aquinas asked God to ‘make me know what I ought to do and do it in the way I should,’ ” said Nancy Berg. “The Saint John’s Bible takes the words St. Thomas followed and adds modern illustrated interpretations to them, showing us God’s word is relevant to all ages. What a wonderful teaching tool for all,” she said. The Saint John’s Bible is already familiar to St. Bartholomew. Early in the creation of the original artwork, the church sponsored a page from the Gospels and Acts volume, “The Call to Discipleship.”

Q& A

The Work of People for the Glory of God

Fr. Michael Reding, pastor of St. Bartholomew Catholic Faith Community, was first introduced to The Saint John’s Bible seven years ago through the BBC documentary The Illuminator. Earlier the same year, his mother passed away and Fr. Michael decided to sponsor Psalm 139 in his mother’s memory. The text that inspired him was, “For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” As a parish community, St. Bartholomew decided to sponsor the illumination “The Call to Discipleship” that accompanies the story of the call of Saint Bartholomew (Nathanael) at the beginning of John’s Gospel. Now with a fine art edition in his parish and school. Fr. Michael tells of his hopes and experiences with The Saint John’s Bible.


Where is the Bible being housed and displayed?

St. Bartholomew had already demonstrated an appreciation for fine sacred art and a reverence for the word of God. For our new church, we commissioned original works by nationally noted artists. In addition, we created a rather unique repository of the word — a place to enshrine the presence of Christ in his word similar to the way in which we enshrine the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Our repository of the word enshrines a Saint John’s Bible (lectionary based) Book of the Gospels (not to be confused with the Gospel volume of the Heritage Edition), which we use ritually each week in our liturgies. The Heritage Edition, on the other hand, will be displayed in a handcrafted cabinet from the wood shops of Saint John’s Abbey. We are considering two locations within the worship space and one location just outside the worship space.


“ The Saint John’s Bible is itself a type of liturgy — leitourgia — in the original sense of the Greek — the ‘work of the people’— for the glory of God.” Fr. Michael Reding Pastor St. Bartholomew Catholic Faith Community


How do you see The Saint John’s Bible being used?

We want The Saint John’s Bible to be accessible. We expect to turn pages each week, probably focusing on the illuminations for the first year or two, and then perhaps settling into a more routine pattern.


How does the Bible fit into your vision of youth and adult faith formation?

The possibilities are endless. We have two adult Bible studies that meet regularly. Our faith formation classes and youth ministry programs will also make use of the Bible as they contemplate the treasure of God’s word. Our Catholic school may use the Bible not only as a means to study and pray with the Scriptures, but also as a tool for exploring history, an inspiration for penmanship, and a focus for art classes. Our marriage PREPARE program will be using The Saint John’s Bible for an upcoming evening of enrichment. Our Lenten retreats may also use the Bible, with a particular focus on Catholic social teaching. I told Nicky Carpenter, a St. Bartholomew parishioner who has a long and rich association with the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library and Saint John’s University, recently that the great gift of having the Heritage Edition on site is that we don’t have to plan specific events that are “about” The Saint John’s Bible; we can simply use it on a regular basis as part of the ordinary life of our church and school. She said: “Just use it … use it in the ordinary course of the life of the church.” 7

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

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

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

Print Exhibitions

Feb. 21 – March 31, 2011 The Polk County Heritage Gallery Des Moines, IA A reception will be held on Sun., Feb. 27, 2011, 1 - 3 pm.

Jan. 10 – March 1, 2011 (17 prints) Carroll College (Carroll Art Gallery) Helena, Mont.

April 3 – 17, 2011 Museum of Religious Arts Logan, IA

Jan. 23 – March 3, 2011 (25 prints) Central Presbyterian Church Atlanta, Ga. March 31 – May 1, 2011 (25 prints) John Brown University Siloam Springs, Ark. April 1 – 30, 2011 (17 prints) Westminster Presbyterian Church Des Moines, IA 50310


To see a complete listing of Saint John’s Bible events, and click on “See the Bible.”

Original Original Manuscript Oct. 23, 2011 – April 7, 2012 Mark your calendars! New Mexico History Museum Santa Fe, N.M.

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

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.

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