Monday October 22, 2012

At the Manger

The Marian Library's annual Nativities display will be closed Dec. 23-25 and Dec. 30- Jan. 1. The exhibit runs through Jan. 27.

The University of Dayton's annual display of Nativities will focus on the timeless Christmas message of peace and explore the ways humans have experienced it and yearn for it.

"At the Manger: Peace on Earth" runs from Saturday, Nov. 24, through Sunday, Jan. 27, at Roesch Library, featuring this year's exhibit of more than 200 Nativities, also called crèches, drawn from the collection of the University's Marian Library. It's free and open to the public.

The University will welcome the season and unveil the exhibit with a community open house. The family-oriented event includes four separate exhibits, children's activities, light refreshments, live entertainment, shopping at The Stable Store and even a college football viewing area, 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, on three floors of Roesch Library. It's free and open to the public.

"Every Christmas, we select a new group of Nativities from our large and diverse collection to explore new themes," said Kathleen Webb, dean of University Libraries. "The exhibit changes every year and has become a tradition with many families who start the Christmas season at the open house or visit the display sometime during the season."

At the center of "Peace on Earth" — the featured exhibit — are large sculptures of the Holy Family, surrounded by dancing children and encircled with clusters of Nativities representing various interpretations of the theme.

"The angel's message on the night Christ was born of 'Glory to God in the highest and on Earth peace to men of good will' challenged humanity to celebrate life, create beauty, seek love and avoid war," said the Rev. Johann Roten, S.M., Marian Library director of research and special projects. "Our exhibit will show how those themes have shaped Christmas culture."

The University will also celebrate the publication of a new photo book by Roten on the Mirror of Hope sculpture, which has been on display in the first floor lobby of Roesch Library since 2000.

Mirror of Hope tells the story of its development by artist Kevin Hanna and how it grew from a simple Nativity scene into a massive installation of more than 240 pieces, encompassing the sweep of human history as told by the Old and New Testaments. It was commissioned by the Marian Library to commemorate the University's 150th anniversary and 2,000 years of Christianity.

Roten will give a talk on "The Mirror of Hope Reality in Book" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, at the library. The talk is free and open to the public. The book is $15 plus tax; Roten will sign books following the lecture.

Webb said the library has expanded space and activities for children and devoted the second floor to Nativities with special appeal to young people.

Returning this year is The Stable Store, featuring an expanded selection of Nativities and Nativity-related items for purchase, with proceeds benefiting the work and collections of the Marian Library. Collectible crèches, ornaments and handmade pieces from fair-trade artisans will be available at the library or online through the University of Dayton Bookstore.

The Twelve Days of Christmas exhibit in the seventh floor Marian Library Gallery will explore a reading of the traditional Christmas carol that suggests a spiritual interpretation of the 12 gifts and also showcase Nativities with special artistic inventiveness.

The University of Dayton's Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, which holds the largest collection in the world of printed materials on Mary, the mother of Jesus. The collection includes nearly 3,000 crèches as well as Marian art from around the world.

How to go:
Exhibit hours vary; for information on exhibits, hours, directions and parking, visit or call 937-229-4234. Guided group tours are available on request by calling 937-229-4214. All campus exhibits are closed Dec. 23-25 and Dec. 31 through Jan. 1. All events are free and open to the public.

"At the Manger: Peace on Earth,"
all-new display of Nativities from the Marian Library collection, Saturday, Nov. 24, through Sunday, Jan. 27.

Grand open house, 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24. "At the Manger" premieres with a free community open house, expanded children's activities, refreshments, live music and a college football viewing area. Four exhibits and The Stable Store will be open.

Advent-Christmas Caroling, 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25. This new event offers a quieter, more contemplative experience of the exhibits with Advent and Christmas music from strolling choirs of Emmanuel Catholic Church.

Mirror of Hope Lecture, 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6. The Rev. Johann Roten, S.M., will discuss a new book on the University's Mirror of Hope sculpture, followed by a book signing.

"A Humble Abode," The Gallery St. John at Mount Saint John, 4400 Shakertown Road, Dayton, Ohio. Noon to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, Dec. 9, through Sunday, Jan. 6, other times by appointment. A selection of Nativities from the Marian Library collection. Hours and days vary; call 937-320-5405 or visit

"The Beauty of Christmas," Transfiguration Center for Spiritual Renewal, 3505 Calumet Road, Ludlow Falls, Ohio. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 25, through Monday, Jan. 7. A selection of Nativities from the Marian Library collection in a serene, garden setting. Hours and days vary; for information call 937-698-7180 or visit