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   Volume II, Issue 1
September 2005   

Exhibit celebrates two Augustinian anniversaries

Falvey Memorial Library is marking the 450th anniversary of the death of St. Thomas of Villanova with a special exhibit. Villanova University, of course, derives its name from Santo Tomás de Villanueva de los Infantes. Another part of the exhibit also celebrates the 700th anniversary of St. Nicholas of Tolentine, the first member of the Augustinian Order to be canonized. Tolentine Hall is named in his honor. Connections between these two saints and Villanova University are illustrated by the many reminders on campus in buildings and works of art.

In the exhibit, a map illustrates the locations in Spain connected with the life of St. Thomas. Artistic representations and biographies are also shown. Of special note are Falvey’s rich holdings of the editions of the sermons of St. Thomas from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Quotations from St. Thomas are employed to show his concern about his preaching and his emphasis on social justice.

The 1581 edition of the Sermons of St. Thomas is the oldest in Falvey’s collection of St. Thomas’s works. The title page, included here, shows the coat of arms used by St. Thomas. Augustinian elements are seen in the heart pierced by an arrow representing charity or love. The image of the pelican wounding herself to feed her young with her own blood symbolizes complete self-giving.

Conciones Sacrae. Alcalá de Henares: Ferdinandus Ramirez, 1581
(Special Collections)

In the portion of the exhibit dedicated to St. Nicholas, early biographies and works containing reproductions of the shrine at Tolentino are highlighted.

Both of these saints, one in Spain and the other in Italy, contributed to the heritage of the Augustinian Order. Both saints were men who were concerned with serving the needs of their fellows. St. Thomas, especially, is characterized as the Father of the Poor. In their lives they exemplified values that are important in Villanova University's heritage and ideals.

The exhibit is jointly sponsored by the Augustinian Historical Institute and Special Collections of Falvey Memorial Library and can be seen on the second floor of Falvey. Rev. Karl Gersbach, O.S.A., director of the Institute, Bente Polites, Special Collections librarian, and Bernadette Dierkes, Creative Design, are responsible for the exhibit.

The exhibit will be open until September 30.

Photograph by Michael Foight