The “Veiled Virgin “Sculpture”
One world famous art piece belonging to the Sisters and available for public viewing is a marble sculpture called The Veiled Virgin” currently housed at Presentation Convent, Cathedral Square, home of our Archives.
The Veiled Virgin, the beautiful marble statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was imported from Rome and arrived on December 4, 1856 by Bishop John Thomas Mullock, OSF, Bishop of St. John’s Newfoundland. This “perfect gem of art” as the bishop referred to it, was exquisitely sculptured by internationally acclaimed Italian sculptor, Giovanni Strazza (1818-1875) from Milan. A St. John’s newspaper article of the day called it a “perfect wonder of the sculptor’s art”. The facial expression has a holy, ethereal quality that provides many people with a deeply religious experience, unique and lasting.
In 1862 Bishop Bullock donated the Veiled Virgin masterpiece to the Presentation Convent through his blood sister, Sister Mary de Pazzi Mullock, who was a professed member of the Presentation Sisters at the time. Mother M. Magdalen O’Shaughnessey, the Superior who accepted the statue for the Congregation, was one of the pioneer Sisters who came to Newfoundland from Galway in 1833. Some examples of Strazza’s work can be seen in the Vatican Museum while others are found in the Cathedral at Milan.
The “Veiled Virgin” is an absolutely amazing work of art which truly has to be seen to be believed. The marble sculpture is believed to be a one-of-a kind masterpiece, which is readily understood once you have seen it. Souvenir cards which help capture the exquisite beauty of this magnificent work of art will be available as part of the tours.
Presentation Congregation Archives
Congregation of Presentation Sisters
170 Military Road
St. John’s, NL Canada A1C 5L4