The Abbey Art Collection
Seek Things Above

Providing a window into the art world of Mount Angel Abbey.

Fall 2023 Virtual Exhibit: Bright Medallions of Faith
Monstrance and Chalice Enamels 1706 – 1928

Throughout the year, we focus on different pieces from the collection. If you are inspired by seeing and learning about the art, please visit again.

Quarterly Virtual Exhibit: January, April, July, October

What is Neo-Gothic Design?

Neo-gothic (also known as gothic revival) is a movement that began in the 17th century and became widespread in the first half of the 19th century. Admirers sought to revive medieval architecture but also drew upon other features of medieval art, including decorative patterns, finials, filigrees and enamels. By the middle of the 19th century, Neo-Gothic had become the preeminent style in the Western world, only to begin falling out of fashion in the late 1800s. Nevertheless, in the Catholic Church the style continued in architecture and various designs, including those used in chalices, vestments, and other liturgical appurtenances until the 1930s.

What is Late Baroque Design?

Late Baroque is an exceptionally ornamented and dramatic style of art and decoration aiming to create a sense of awe in the viewer. In chalice design, it typically combines asymmetry, scrolling curves, gilding, sculpted images, and richly colored enamel medallions of saints and the Christian mysteries. The style began roughly in the middle of the 17th century in Rome, and then spread rapidly to the rest of Europe until the middle of the 18th century. It was generally supported by the Catholic Church in reaction to the austerity of Protestant Reformation art and architecture.

What are fired enamels?

Enameling is a process by which powdered glass is fused to a metal surface at high heat. Enamels can be applied to glass, ceramics, and most commonly, metals. The powdered glass can be applied either wet or dry to a surface. When enamel powder is applied wet, it is used to fill depressions (champlevé) or enclosures (cloisonné), colors separated by hair-like wire of silver or gold.

What is a Monstrance?

A monstrance, also known as an ostensorium, is a vessel used in Roman Catholic, and High Church Lutheran and Anglican churches for the display on an altar of some object of piety, such as the consecrated host during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It is also used as a reliquary for the public display and veneration of relics of saints. The word monstrance comes from the Latin word monstrare, meaning “to show.”

Fontgombault Abbey?

This French abbey, located in the province of Berry, began as a Benedictine monastery in 1091. During the French Revolution (1789 – 1799) the monastery was nationalized. It was eventually bought back for religious uses in 1849 by the Trappists. Again in 1948, the empty buildings were restored to the site’s original purpose when 22 Benedictine monks resettled it. In 1901, fearing suppression again, the Trappist community sent monks to Jordan, Oregon, to set up a potential refuge. In Oregon the French monks began preparing a place for more exiles.
The monastery of Our Lady of Jordan was established in 1904. Over the next six years as many as 35 American men tried to join the monks. The late Father Martinus, a monk of the present-day Trappist Abbey of Our Lady of Guadalupe, says, that they “found conditions too primitive or precarious, and all but one abandoned the idea.” Despite the language barrier and a “severe lack of business experience,” the monks struggled on. Eventually, the Archdiocese of Oregon City, later the Archdiocese of Portland, took on the monks’ debts for a time, but the Benedictines of Mount Angel eventually stepped in and resolved the finances. In gratitude for Mount Angel Abbey’s help, the Trappists gave Mount Angel the Fontgombault monstrance which is part of this exhibit.

Descriptions by Fr. Nathan Zodrow, O.S.B., with the assistance of Br. Claude Lane, O.S.B., Br. Alfredo Miranda, O.S.B., and Br. Ambrose Stewart, O.S.B.


Fontgambault Monstrance

Province of Berry, France, c. 1894 | 35″ tall

Monstrance Top 1Monstrance Top 2Monstrance Top 3Monstrance Top 4

This large and richly detailed neo-gothic piece was originally given to the Trappist abbot Alberic in 1894 for his 25th anniversary of priestly ordination and 16th as abbot of Fontgambault Abbey. The gilded piece includes 25 large and small enamels and three statuettes of Cistercian saints. The uppermost section includes enamels of the Father (Ancient One) at the top, Christ (Ruler of All) at the bottom, and St. Peter (with keys) and St. Paul (with sword), both pointing upward toward the Father. Images of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica are included with Cistercian saints in the circle of enamels around the Luna, the glass-enclosed centerpiece. For its history, please see above Fontgamboult Abbey.

Engelberg Chalice

Engelberg Chalice

Augsburg, Germany, Ludwig Schneider, c 1706 | 10″ tall

Enamel 1Enamel 2Enamel 3

Enamel 3Enamel 5Enamel 6

This ornate late Baroque chalice is a gold-plated masterpiece of metalwork and enamels. The enamels on the cup of the Engelberg chalice are St. Eugenius, a Roman soldier and martyr, St. Placida, martyr, and St. Maurice, martyr. The the foot of the chalice portrays Engelberg’s first three blesseds: Abbot Adelhelm, with a spring of water, Abbot Frowin, sitting at a desk, and Abbot Berchtold, holding a cup. The lower part of the cup, the body and base of the chalice, are designed with a chiseled low relief. The node is engraved with the coat of arms, indicating it was commissioned by Abbot Joachim Albini (1696 – 1724). The chalice was commissioned in Augsburg, Germany, and stamped with a pinecone hallmark (tree of life).

Heibel Chalice

Chalice of Fr. Alcuin Heibel, O.S.B.

Made in France, c 1921 | 9″ tall

Heibel Enamel 1Heibel Enamel 2Heibel Enamel 3Heibel Enamel 4

A neo-gothic chalice with four larger and four smaller enamels located at the base of the cup and on the foot respectively is of French origin. The enamels on the cup are of the Annunciation, Nativity, Last Supper, and the Resurrection. Those on the foot are the Death of St. Benedict, St. Scholastica, the Crucifixion, and Pope Gregory the Great. In the center or body of the chalice is an open filigree node while a smaller node is at the base of the cup. The smaller node’s design suggests a circle of adoring cherubs on which the cup rests. The chalice was given to Father Alcuin in memory of his parents for his ordination in 1921.

Benedict Chalice

Chalice of Fr. Paul Benedict, O.S.B.

Made in Munster, Germany by R. Bruun, 1928 | 9″ tall

Benedict Enamel 2Benedict Enamel 1Benedict Enamel 6

Benedict Enamel 5Benedict Enamel 4Benedict Enamel 3

This neo-gothic design is suggested by the shape of the cup, the filigree on the cup base, and the node of the chalice. Six fired enamel medallions surround the base of the chalice: St. Benedict, St. Therese of Lisieux (canonized May 17, 1925), St. Peter with the key, St. Paul with a sword, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Crucifixion. The chalice was given to Fr. Paul by his father, mother, and family for his ordination in 1928.

Gross Chalice

Chalice In Memory of Archbishop William Gross, CSSC

c. 1898 | 10 ¾″ tall

Chalice of Gross Enamel 6Chalice of Gross Enamel 5Chalice of Gross Enamel 4

Chalice of Gross Enamel 1Chalice of Gross Enamel 2Chalice of Gross Enamel 3

This neo-gothic chalice includes six fired enamel medallions at the base using the cloisonne technique of gold or silver wire to separate the various colors of the enamels: Christ displaying alpha and omega, Mary and Child, St. Joseph with a Lilly, and three women saints representing faith, hope, and charity. Filigrees decorate the base of the cup and the foot of the chalice. This chalice was given to Portland priest, Msgr. James Black in remembrance of William H. Gross, 3rd Archbishop of Oregon City (1885 – 1898).

Gross Chalice

Chalice of Fr. Bonaventure Huesser, O.S.B.

Made in Fulda, Germany, by Wilhelm Rauscher, c 1911 | 9 ½″ tall

Chalice of Huesser Enamel 3Chalice of Huesser Enamel 4Chalice of Huesser Enamel 5

Chalice of Huesser Enamel 2Chalice of Huesser Enamel 1Chalice of Huesser Enamel 6

A neo-gothic design suggested by the shape of the cup and the plaited and open filigree as well as the six fired enamel medallions on the base: St. Ann and Mary, St. Joseph, St. Andrew, St. Benedict, St. Bonaventure, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga. Wilhelm Rauscher was an active goldsmith and jeweler from around 1892 to around 1925 in Germany. During his time, he became an official Papal Court Jeweler. Many of his larger pieces were marked, ‘Made in Germany Wilh. Rauscher Papstl Horjuwelier. Hof & Dom Goldschmied. Fulda’. This chalice was given by family members and friends to Fr. Bonaventure in memory of his parents for his 1911 ordination.

Murphy Chalice

Chalice of Abbot Bernard Murphy, O.S.B.

Made in Regensburg, Germany, by JIU Deplaz, 1898 | 8 ½″ tall

Chalice of Murphy Enamel 1Chalice of Murphy Enamel 3Chalice of Murphy Enamel 2

A neo-gothic chalice suggested by three fired enamel medallions adorning the base of the chalice: the Crucifixion, St. Benedict, and St. Maurus, surrounded by chiseled relief images on the base and node. The base of the cup is a closed filigree design with a meander crowning the top of the filigree. The chalice was given to Fr. Bernard Murphy, O.S.B., for his ordination in Rome in 1898. (Later, he was elected abbot III of Mount Angel Abbey, 1921 – 1934).


Curator’s Note

Thank you for viewing our fall 2023 virtual exhibit!

If you know someone who may enjoy our exhibits, please pass the link on to them.

If you would like to see more of the Mount Angel Abbey Art Collection, please see the archive links below.

If you have a comment about this exhibit, or if you would like to add someone or take yourself off our “exhibit alert” email list, please contact us at

– Fr. Nathan Zodrow, OSB, Abbey Art Curator