Rockhurst Bids Farewell to St. John’s BibleAugust 22, 2014

On Friday, Aug. 22, Rockhurst University said goodbye to one of the most unique religious objects to have been created for centuries.

Upon its completion in 2011, the St. John’s Bible became the first fully hand-written and hand-illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine abbey since emergence of the printing press. A lifelong dream of British master calligrapher Donald Jackson, the project was commissioned by the St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, and began officially in 1998.

In September 2013, Rockhurst University opened a special exhibition of the Heritage Edition of the St. John’s Bible: a full-sized, fine art reproduction of each of the original’s seven volumes. Two of the volumes, the Pentateuch and Gospels and Acts, remained on display at the University’s Greenlease Library through end of the year. According to Ellen Spake, Ph.D., assistant to the president for mission and ministry, more than 2,000 people got the chance to see and feel the books up close during that time, either on display on campus or as the Bible was taken into the community.

Among the visitors who were impacted by the book’s powerful imagery was the Rev. Bill Oulvey, S.J., mission office assistant.

“Every time I open it, every time I touch it, something new comes up, and it continues to be a deeply spiritual event just seeing it,” he said. “I will miss it just being here.”

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