All Saints’ Day

by Jeanne Brasile

 

Woodcut engraving of Madonna and St. Jerone
Saint Jerome or Madonna and the Saints
engraving after Francesco Bartolozzi by Karl Heinrich-Muller
19th century
2012.00.0032

November 1 is the annual celebration of All Saints Day which honors all Catholic saints, particularly those with no special feast day of their own.  All Saints Day is celebrated worldwide by Roman Catholics as well as other Christian denominations.  A feast day commemorates a saint or saints who are remembered on their individual feast days with special services and prayers.  Certain feast days include public celebrations and processions.  Some saints are celebrated internationally, while others are honored regionally or locally.

All Saints Day was first observed under Pope Boniface IV on May 1, 609 when he dedicated Rome’s Pantheon to the Virgin Mary and the Martyrs.  Pope Boniface also instituted All Souls Day, an additional day of prayer and remembrance for the souls of those who have died.  Celebrated on November 2, it immediately follows All Saints Day.[1]  In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III moved the All Saints Day observance to November 1,  though celebrations were local to Rome.  Under Pope Gregory IV, All Saints Day became an official worldwide observance for the entirety of the church.[2]

Prior to the 10th century, there was no formalized process for identifying and sanctifying saints.  This was addressed by Pope John XV who defined the parameters for sainthood.  Previous to Pope John XV, sainthood was often attained through popular public opinion.  Today, there are more than 10,000 recognized saints.[3]  The Catholic Online website has a comprehensive list of saints, angels and feast days – in addition to a wealth of other Catholic resources.  It will give you a sense of the many saints venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, and it is fun to browse.  For instance, did you know Saint Bernardino is the patron saint of advertising and communications?  Or that Saint Januarius is the patron saint of blood banks, and in Naples, also volcanoes?  Seton Hall University’s Walsh Gallery and Archives and Special Collections have a significant number of collections that featuring various Catholic saints.  In honor of All Saints Day, we have assembled these images of art and artifacts featuring those who have been canonized.

Sketch of medal honoring Elizabeth Ann Seton
Design for Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal from Dieges and Clust
2018.17.0001.a

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the University’s namesake, is the patron saint of Catholic schools, widows, and seafarers.  She is also the aunt of the university’s founder, The Most Reverend, James Roosevelt Bayley.  This image of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is from a medal designed for the Society of the Preservation of Setonia.  This design was made in advance of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s canonization which occurred in 1975.  This medal design, in addition to numerous other artifacts that illuminate the life and work of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton are currently on display in the Walsh Gallery exhibition “The Treasures of Seton Hall University.”  Her feast day is January 4.

Portrait of Saint Pope John XXIII
Portrait of Saint Pope John XXIII
20th century
2021.12.0001
Courtesy of the Archives of the Archdiocese of Newark

Saint Pope John XXIII is one of the most popular popes in the Roman Catholic Church.  He ushered in a new era by convening the Second Vatican Council (1962 – 1965), popularly known as Vatican II.  This council resulted in sweeping changes throughout the church to address the modern era.  Canonized by Pope Francis in April 2014, Saint Pope John XXIII’s feast day is October 11.  He is the patron saint of Papal delegates, the Patriarchy of Venice and the Second Vatican Council.[4]  Saint John XXIII was also the pope that beatified Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.  Beatification, a precursor to canonization or sainthood, is a declaration of blessedness.

Portrait of Saint Pope Paul VI
Portrait of Saint Pope Paul VI
mid to late 20th century
2021.11.0001
Courtesy of the Archives of the Archdiocese of Newark

Saint Pope Paul VI was the 262nd pope of the Roman Catholic Church, succeeding John XXIII as pope.  He also presided over Vatican II, closing the session in 1965 which resulted in numerous church reforms including the improvement of relations with the Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches.  Saint Pope Paul VI canonized Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in 1975.   He was in turn beatified and canonized by Pope Francis in 2014 and 2018, respectively.[5]  His feast day is May 29th.

Saint Martín de Porres canonization medal
Saint Martín de Porres canonization medal
1962
2021.01.0011
Gift of Peter Ahr

Saint Martín de Porres (1579 – 1639), a Peruvian born saint ,was associated with the Dominican Order.  He was known for caring for the sick, was trained in the healing arts and was also barber.  Though he was devoted to the church, at that time his lineage prevented him from taking his vows as the son of an unmarried Spanish nobleman and a mother that was a freed slave of African and Native descent.  Like Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, he founded orphanages and was devoted to the cause of education.  He is the patron saint of mixed race people, public health workers, public schools, public education, the poor, Peru, innkeepers and barbers as well as lottery winners, racial harmony and social justice.[6]  Today, his name graces numerous schools throughout the United States as well as a Catholic University in Lima, Peru.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha illustration
Anishinabe Enamiad with Saint Kateri Tekakwitha illustration
December 10, 1896 – vol. 1, no. 10
BX801 .A55
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 – 1680), whose feast day falls on July 14th, is the first Native American saint recognized by the Catholic Church.  A layperson of Algonquin-Mohawk heritage, she was born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon which sits on the banks of New York States’ Mohawk River.  She was the daughter of Kenneronkwa, a Mohawk chief, and Kahenta, an Algonquin woman who had been captured in a raid, then taken into the Mohawk tribe.[7] In Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s time, the Mohawks had considerable contact with other tribes, as well as European trappers, traders and missionaries.  A resulting  outbreak of smallpox took the lives of the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s parents and brother.  She survived, but with lasting health implications.  At the age of 18, after meeting a Jesuit priest, she converted to Catholicism, dying just a few short years later at the age of 24.[8]    She was beatified in 1980 by Pope John Paul II, and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s Basilica October 21, 2012.[9] Saint Kateri Tekakwitha is the patron saint of the environment, ecology, those who have lost their parents, people in exile and Native Americans.[10]

A mass in honor of All Saints Day will be held at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at Seton Hall University at 11am on November 1.

The images and materials shown here are but a small part of the vast patrimony available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access to this or other objects in our collections, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476

[1] https://www.catholic.org/saints/allsaints/  accessed 10/25/2021

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/01/world/all-saints-day-trnd/index.html accessed 10/25/2021

[3] https://www.britannica.com/story/roman-catholic-saints-hallowed-from-the-other-side accessed 10/23/2021

[4] https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=7305 accessed 10/26/2021

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Paul_VI  accessed 10/25/2026

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_de_Porres  accessed 10/25/2021

[7] https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=154  accessed 10/26/2021

[8] https://www.kateri.org/our-patron-saint/  accessed 10/26/2021

[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kateri_Tekakwitha  accessed 10/25/2021

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kateri_Tekakwitha  accessed 10/26/2021

Object of the Week: George Washington Bicentennial Button

VETERANS DAY – HONORING SERVICE IN THE U.S. ARMED FORCES

George Washington is remembered as a Founding Father of the United States of America, the first president of the country, as well as a military veteran. He received his military training with the Virginia Regiment, and was later selected as a delegate to the Continental Congress which in turn, appointed him as the Commanding General of the Continental Army in 1775.  Washington declined a salary but was reimbursed for his expenses.[1]  He ultimately led American forces to victory against the British in the fight for independence before ascending to the presidency.  In his newly-defined role as President, Washington was also commander in chief of the nation’s military forces.  This political button from the Department of Archives and Special Collections depicts Washington dressed in military gear, demonstrating his astute understanding that effectiveness as a military leader and president was contingent on appearance as well as action.[2]

Brass button that says, "G.W. - Long Live the President"
Image courtesy of Mark Finkenstaedt via www.mountvernon.org

Political buttons are a uniquely American invention that originated with George Washington’s presidential campaign.[3] His candidacy was also the first presidential election in the United States.  Washington and his supporters wore a brass button that said “G.W. – Long Live the President“, the phrase proclaimed by Robert Livingston, the Chancellor of New York, after he administered the Oath of Office to George Washington in April 1789 at Federal Hall in New York City.[4] The Electoral College unanimously elected Washington as the first president in 1789, and again 1792.  He is the only president in American history to receive the totality of electoral votes.[5] The political pins worn by Washington’s supporters were more like buttons, sewn to lapels and did not include a likeness of the candidates. The first photographic image on a political pin dates to 1860 during Abraham Lincoln’s presidential campaign. Lincoln, and his running mate for Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, ran on the Republican ticket and used metal buttons with tintype images of each candidate on opposite sides which more palpably demonstrated support of candidates. [6]

The ferrotype and tintype photographic processes that allowed images of candidates to be reproduced widely were invented in the 1850s.  The invention of photography enabled widespread dissemination of candidates’ likenesses in a time before widespread media, such as television, the internet and social media allowed voters to see images of political hopefuls. The political button is one of the oldest and most popular ways to indicate support of a particular candidate or issue.

This pin from Seton Hall University’s Department of Archives and Special Collections features the face of George Washington on a gold background with a red, white and blue accent ribbon.  It was issued in 1932 to mark the bicentennial of his birth. It is one of many different style buttons issued to commemorate the occasion.

For approximately the past 120 years, slogans, pictures, and names have been widely used to promote candidates and causes. While buttons are still produced today, disposable stickers are more frequently used at rallies and political events, since they can be made cheaply and in larger quantities.  This pin is but one of a large collection of political buttons housed in the Archives and Special Collections Center.  This collection was cultivated and donated by Monsignor Francis Seymour, former Archivist for the Archdiocese of Newark.  The collection contains political buttons from national and state elections, as well as those endorsing particular political causes.    ­

 

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The images and materials shown here are but a small part of the vast patrimony available to students, faculty and researchers.  For access to this or other objects in our collections, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476. 

 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington, accessed 11/2/2020

[2] https://www.mountvernon.org/preservation/collections/general-washingtons-military-equipment/, accessed 11/2/2020

[3] http://archives.library.yorku.ca/exhibits/show/pushingbuttons/history-of-political-buttons, accessed 10/19/2020

[4] https://www.mountvernon.org/preservation/collections-holdings/the-material-culture-of-the-presidency/inaugural-buttons/, accessed 10/19/2020

[5] https://www.mountvernon.org/library/digitalhistory/digital-encyclopedia/article/presidential-election-of-1789/, accessed 10/19/2020

[6] https://www.thehenryford.org/collections-and-research/digital-collections/artifact/324508/, accessed 10/19/2020

Object of the Week: “Madonna of the Rosary” by Lucas Vorsterman the Elder

Lucas Vorsterman the Elder
Madonna of the Rosary (after Caravaggio)
engraving
22” H x 16.5” W
early 17th century
2013.00.0009
Image courtesy of the Walsh Gallery

 

OCTOBER IS THE MONTH OF THE HOLY ROSARY

This engraving by Lucas Vorsterman the Elder is after an original painting by Caravaggio.  Though we do not know the patron of this work, art historians believe Caravaggio’s painting was part of an altarpiece created for a Dominican church – inferred by the presence of Saint Dominic – shown on the right holding rosaries in his outstretched hands.  It is thought the figure peering from beneath Saint Dominic’s robes is the patron who commissioned this work given his eye contact with the viewer and proximity to the saint and the Virgin Mary.[1]

The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. According to an account by fifteenth-century Dominican, Alan de la Roche, Mary appeared to Saint Dominic in 1206 after praying.  She gave Saint Dominic the Rosary, explained its uses and significance, and told him to preach it to others.[2]  The Rosary consists of prayer and meditations on the life of Christ using rosary beads as an aid.  Catholics pray the rosary to ask God for a special favor, such as helping a loved one recover from an illness, or to thank God for blessings received.[3]

The rosary has 59 beads, a crucifix, and a medal, with certain prayers for each of the pieces. The prayers of the rosary can be divided into three categories: Introductory Prayers, The Decades and Closing Prayers.[4]  The prayers that compose the rosary are arranged in sets of ten “Hail Mary” prayers. Each set of ten, or decade, is preceded by one “Lord’s Prayer” (“Our Father”) and traditionally followed by one “Glory Be.”  During the recitation of each set, thought is given to one of the Mysteries of the Rosary, which recall events in the lives of Jesus and of Mary. Five decades are recited per rosary.[5]

The term rosary is derived from the Latin word rosarium or rose garden and the rose is the symbol of the Virgin Mary.The earliest documented use of the term rosary dates back to 1597[6], though the story of Saint Dominic tells us the word likely appeared much earlier in time.  Rosary beads are made from a variety of materials.  These include ordinary ones such as plastic, rope or wood, or more expensive materials such as gemstones or precious metals.  The tradition of using beads to pray spans across many faiths and cultures.  Hindus, Greeks, Buddhists and numerous other peoples use beads to pray.  Interestingly enough, the word bead in English is derived from an Old English word that means prayer.[7]

Rosary with made of red plastic beads and a metal chain and crucifix, Collection on Pope John Paul II (MSS 0004)
Rosary, Collection on Pope John Paul II (MSS 0004)

 

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The Walsh Gallery has a considerable collection of fine art, artifacts and archeological specimens. For access to this or objects in our collections, complete this research request form to set up an appointment. 

 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonna_of_the_Rosary_(Caravaggio)  accessed 10/7/2020

[2] https://www.livingbreadradio.com/2015/09/october-the-month-of-the-holy-rosary/ accessed 10/7/2020

[3] https://m.theholyrosary.org/  accessed 10/7/2020

[4] https://dynamiccatholic.com/rosary/how-to-pray-the-rosary accessed 10/7/2020

[5] https://m.theholyrosary.org/  accessed 10/7/2020

[6] https://dynamiccatholic.com/rosary/history-of-the-rosary accessed 10/7/2020

[7] https://dynamiccatholic.com/rosary/history-of-the-rosary accessed 10/7/2020

 

Object of the Week: “Rabbi” by Isaac Goody

Isaac Goody
Rabbi
serigraph
30” x 23”
1970s
81.2.185
Gift of Mr. Joseph Elkind

“Passover affirms the great truth that liberty is the inalienable right of every human being…. Pharaoh enslaved a whole race, and was chastised for his crime by the Divine Hand. But in thus intervening between the slave and his oppressor the Almighty fixed His canon against slavery for all time. He thereby declared that every human being has the right to the freedom which will enable him to develop to the utmost all the powers of body, of mind, of soul, with which God has endowed him; and that slavery, therefore, with its debasing effects upon the intellect and the character, is a sin against the laws of God himself.”  – Morris Joseph, Jewish Theologian, excerpt from his book, Passover: Judaism as Creed and Life

Passover is a week-long festival commemorating the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. In Hebrew, it is called Pesach, meaning “to pass over,” as God passed over the homes of Israelites during the tenth plague on the first Passover. This multicolored serigraph print in a graphic style depicts a Rabbi wearing a yarmulke and a tallit, reading from a prayer book. In the background are two rolled Torah scrolls in a Aron Kodesh, or Holy Arc.

Object of the Week: The Seton Family at their Estate in Cragdon

Alfred Booth
The Seton Family at their estate in Cragdon
Reproduction of an original albumen silver print
8” × 8 ⅞”
1866 – 1867
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections
Mss 0074

Check out this photo of Seton family members at Cragdon, their estate located in the area tucked between the present-day Bronx neighborhoods of Wakefield and Eastchester. Going through family photos can unearth gems like one and is a great activity for your extra time at home. As you rediscover your own treasured images, there are a few things you can do to increase their longevity. Make sure you have clean, dry hands when handling photos and try not to touch the image directly but hold it from the sides and bottom. When thinking about where to store your photos, areas with temperatures between 65-70 degrees are ideal, as rooms temperature changes common in rooms such as a basement or attic can accelerate deterioration. If your photos are kept in an album, use ones with acid-free pages or polyester, polypropylene, or polyethylene sleeves and use photo corners instead of glue or tape when mounting photos. When displaying your photos, keep them out of direct sunlight to avoid fading, yellowing, and embrittlement.

Object of the Week – “The Gathering” by Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali
The Gathering
Lithographic print
23” x 27”
1980
2010.02.0001
Gift of Mr. Joseph Elkind

Ramadan Mubarak (Blessed Ramadan)! One of the holiest months of the year for Muslims, Ramadan commemorates the month in which the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by Allah (God). Daily fasting is practiced, and it is a time of self-reflection and spiritual improvement. Ramadan is a time to strengthen one’s relationship with Allah through reading the Qur’an and prayer, as well as reinforce communal bonds through shared meals when breaking the fast and giving to the poor. This print depicting figures in white walking towards a mosque with two minarets and a gold dome is by American Muslim, sports figure, celebrity and political activist, Muhammad Ali, who joined the Nation of Islam in 1964 and later converted to Sufi Islam after a pilgrimage to Mecca in the 1970s.

Object of the Week: Crucifixio Jesu Christi

Friedrich August Ludy
Crucifixio Jesu Christi
Engraving
13.375” x 17.5”
1852
83.2.137
Gift of Anonymous Donor

“Good Friday is much more than reliving the passion of Jesus; it is entering into solidarity with the passion of all people of our planet, whether in the past, the present, or the future.” – Henri Nouwen

Each year on Good Friday, Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ at Calvary. Ludy’s engraving depicts these events. Pontius Pilate is shown a plaque which reads, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, as Jesus is nailed to the cross in the background. The figure depicted on the far-left kneeling in prayer is artist Johann Friedrich Overbeck who painted the original work on which this engraving is based.