The Abbey Art Collection
Seek Things Above


…. [T]his world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair.  Beauty, like truth, brings joy to the human heart, and is that precious fruit which resists the erosion of time, which unites generations and enables them to be one in admiration …. Remember that you are custodians of beauty in the world.

– Pope Benedict XVI, November 21, 2009

Monks have historically been drawn to produce art and to surround themselves with art for spiritual sustenance and inspiration. Through the centuries, monks have preserved art in its many forms. Among these profound works are illuminated manuscripts produced in highly specialized scriptoria throughout the Middle Ages. Additionally, the monks have been known for calligraphy, bookmaking, iconography, painting, sculpture, mosaics, and many other forms which adorn Benedictine churches and cloisters. The churches themselves were often designed and built by the monks. Over the last nearly 140 years, Mount Angel Abbey has received gifts of art and has purchased select works, and the monks have created works of art. This web section, titled “The Abbey Art Collection: Seeking Things Above,” provides a window into the art world of Mount Angel Abbey. At various times throughout the year, this window will focus on different media and pieces from the collection. It is hoped that visitors to this virtual exhibit will enjoy seeing, learning about, and being inspired by the art.

Every experience of beauty points to infinity.  – Hans Urs von Balthasar

Virtual Exhibit: Pope Francis Proclaims “Year of Saint Joseph” 

With the Apostolic Letter Patris corde (With a Father’s Heart), Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church by proclaiming a “Year of Saint Joseph,” extending from December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021.

The Holy Father writes that in Saint Joseph, “Jesus saw the tender love of God,” the one that helps us accept our weakness, because “it is through” and despite “our fears, our frailties, and our weakness” that most divine designs are realized. Saint Joseph is “courageously and firmly proactive.” It is as if God were repeating to us through him: “Do not be afraid!” (4). Patris corde highlights “the creative courage” of Saint Joseph, which “emerges especially in the way we deal with difficulties.”

“The carpenter of Nazareth,” explains the Pope, “was able to turn a problem into a possibility by trusting in divine providence.” He had to deal with “the concrete problems” his family faced, problems faced by other families in the world, and especially those of migrants. In this sense, Saint Joseph is “the guardian of Jesus and Mary, and cannot “be other than the guardian of the whole Church” (5).

In the following exhibit in honor of Saint Joseph, we invite you to view some of the art works at Mount Angel Abbey that aim to inspire insight and devotion toward our special patron who faithfully intercedes for the Abbey and our ministries. Of special interest, Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B., provides verbal “reads” of three of our treasured art works in this exhibit. We hope you enjoy this fourth virtual art exhibit.

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A Daily Prayer to Saint Joseph

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.