June 27, 2016

Intermittent clouds

‘Art of the Nativity’ shines at Stan Hywet

Religion Editor

AKRON — In many families, bringing out the nativity set is one of the main highlights of the holiday. Whether an elaborately carved imported wooden crèche or a humble plaster set from the five-and-dime, the Holy Family holds a special place of honor, with angels keeping watch over Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus.

As part of its holiday exhibit, Stan Hywet presents “Art of the Nativity,” a display of more than 40 crèche scenes. The University of Dayton has provided most of the nativity sets. The university’s Marian Library boasts a collection of more than 1,500 crèches from about 45 countries.

In a presention Nov. 7 at Stan Hywet, the Rev. Johann G. Roten, director of the Marian Library at the university, said the collection is aimed at promoting the study and understanding of how culture and religion connect.

“We study culture through nativity sets from all over the world and back in time,” Roten said.

He also said nativity sets had visual and childlike appeal.
“People simply like nativity sets; they (the beauty of the pieces) attract people emotionally,” he said, adding that in regards to culture and religion, it was a mutually enriching situation. “Culture enriches religion, and religon enriches culture.”

The nativity sets, displayed throughout the Manor House, vary in style and construction materials, including fabric, straw, hardened bread dough, clay, olive wood, rosewood and thorn wood.

For more information about the Marian library and research institute, visit www.themarypage.net.

The exhibit is available for viewing from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas, through Dec. 28. It also will be available for viewing during special holiday evening hours from 5 to 8 p.m. ,when the grounds and gardens are illuminated.

For ticket prices, resevations and information about Stan Hywet’s evening tours and activities, call 330-315-3287 or visit www.stanhywet.org.

Totts may be reached at religion@ohio.net or 330-721-4063.