There are a variety of rather kitschy pieces of art amongst the modernist pieces at St. John’s, and this sculpture, entitled “Our Lady” and constructed by Oblate Catherine Smith in 1960, really stood out for me. I am not even sure what the religious message is–“Mary will cut you, so stay away!”? Broken glass of the kind you put atop a wall to cut the hands of thieves seems like an inappropriate medium for showing Marian devotion.
A close-up of the broken glass making up the sculpture of “Our Lady” by Oblate Catherine Smith, showing the sharp edges.
The full inscription (all four sides) on this granite block, near the refectory, reads:
To the Men of St. John’s
Who Have Served
in Peace and War.
A summer electrical storm lights up the night over the modernist abbey church on the campus of St. John’s University, in Collegeville, Minnesota. The impressive storm raged for many hours, but I was unable to stay even an hour, as the driving rain was rendering all my photos blurry, and could not be kept off the lens, and rising winds threatened the stability of my tripod. Not to mention that standing in an open field in an electrical storm is somewhat disconcerting. . .
20 seconds at f/5.6 iso 400.
An arch holding up the bell tower (if tower is the right word) hangs over a set of concrete seats, next to the entrance to the abbey church, St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.
The modernist foyer and baptismal font in the Abbey Church. The statue is St. John the Baptist by Doris Caesar.
An overview of the interior, showing the altar, and behind it the futuristic throne of the abbot. The pews, angular and concrete, are extremely uncomfortable, apparently a purposeful design decision, coupled with the brutalism of the architecture and the bareness of the concrete, underscoring the ascetic quality of monastic life.
A stairway leading to the balcony shows the beautiful quality of the windows, contrasting against the bareness of the concrete, at the Abbey Church of St. John’s.
The front windows, as seen from the balcony of the Abbey Church of St. John’s. The backlit tops of the pews may be faintly seen in the dark lower section of the image.