The Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County (HCSCC) will open the largest art exhibition in its history at the Hjemkomst Center beginning October 1. Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible will include 68 original folios of the Minnesota monument born in Saint John’s Abbey and University, along with tools, sketches, materials, and rare books.

Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible at Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible at Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA Photo)

HCSCC has previously shared the project’s unique combination of art, history, and faith in reprinted editions, but this is the first time the historical society has had the original folios: hand-illuminated and hand-calligraphed with hand-cut quills and ancient inks hand-ground from precious minerals on calfskin vellum. The 68 folios that will be on display at the Hjemkomst Center come from all seven volumes of The Saint John’s Bible: Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Books, Psalms, Prophets, Gospels and Acts, and Letters and Revelation.

HCSCC Executive Director Maureen Kelly Jonason was inspired to bring the original folios to Fargo-Moorhead by a corps of calligraphy artists who then volunteered hundreds of hours to make it happen. “We are incredibly grateful for this last opportunity to share these folios with our community. This is a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition that we’d love everyone to come and see.”

Adam and Eve, Donald Jackson and Christopher Tomlin, 2002, The Saint John's Bible, Saint John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA.
Detail: Adam and Eve, Donald Jackson and Christopher Tomlin, 2002,
The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA.

After the Hjemkomst Center’s exhibition ends December 31, this portion of The Saint John’s Bible will be shipped back to Collegeville, MN, where they will join the rest of the work on rotating display in the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library on the campus of Saint John’s University.

An opening reception for Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible will be held on Sunday, October 1, from 1:00PM to 4:00PM at the Hjemkomst Center. Refreshments will be served and the reception is open to the public, but admission to the exhibition ranges from $10 for children (ages 5-17) to $15 for adults. HCSCC members will be allowed in for free and memberships will be available for visitors interested in exploring the exhibition multiple times. Exhibition and program guides will be available for those interested in HCSCC’s three months of exhibition programming.

Lead artist Donald Jackson presenting The Saint John's Bible to Pope Francis in April, 2015 (Photo: L'osservatore Romano)
Lead artist Donald Jackson presenting The Saint John’s Bible
to Pope Francis in April, 2015 (Photo: L’osservatore Romano)

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