Collections – Library
THE CRIPT OF THE SANTUARY
This is the area beneath the old Basilica built by Don Bosco which serves as an ideal place for temporary exhibits that are held on specific occasions, like Christmas, the Feast of Mary Our Lady Help of Christians, the exibition of the Holy Shroud, with the material of the Center. Set up as a more permanent exhibition is the ingenious moving Crèche that delights visitors of all ages both young and not so young, but in particular, children. Restored and placed along the walls are some of the works of stained glass windows designed by Professor Mario Barberis and carried out by the stained glass artist Jammi, who would later decorate the enlarged Basilica in 1938 which, unfortunately, was destroyed during the bombing of 1943. At the entrance of the Crypt a dignified layout has been arranged for six restored statues of the twelve angels with lamps, which decorated this area in 1938 and framed the great altar-piece of the painting of Mary Our Lady Help of Christians and which in 1944 was substituted by the current one of Saints. In the adjoining renovated room destined to be the Library, are sections of the railings that defined the altar of the ancient Basilica, which was later substituted by the current and more impressive one.
On one of the walls of the same area one can see a restored, precious carpet offered to Don Bosco by the Florentine Ladies in 1875 for the Basilica of Mary Our Lady Help of Christians. The 5m X 10m carpet is in embroidered polychrome wool with a floral motif followed by sewn squares added at a later date. The border is composed of rectangular pieces while the frame around each square is made of herringbone.
The Marian Salesian Documentation Center provides collections of various types:
- Holy Images: more than 30,000 altogether, covering a period of time from the 1600’s to the 1900’s. Some are made with scissors and threads, in parchment or painted paper, in lace and are produced in France, Germany and Italy. Substantial and various types of images for the Commemoration of the Dead, for the First Communion and Confirmation, for Easter Holy Mass and Confirmation and which are all divided chronologically and geography location.
- Lithographs, Chromolithographs and Engravings: regarding all the works of major Italian and foreign artists from all time periods with particular reference to facts about Jesus and the Madonna.
- Postcard, Calendars, Scapulars, Medallions, and Stamps: of particular note are the philatelist collections of religion and Marian.
Which is regularly funded by Colonel Cav. Armando Marini, houses general works for consultation on theMadonna and the Saints with particular emphasis on the Shrines of Marian present in Italy and abroad.
It houses many publications, some of which date back to the 1500’s, 1600’s and 1700’s, several from the 1800’s and 1900’s and which are full of rich text that is extremely difficult to find elsewhere and which are about the popular devotion of the people for Madonna and in particular the origins and history of the various shrines. In addition to these volumes one can add to the list, volumes of Marian journals and pertinent articles from newspapers, arranged and conserved in folders. A large section of the library is dedicated to books on popular piety of the past centuries, which are an interesting patrimony from the historical, religious, iconographic and editorial point of view. The computerization of all the library’s material has already begun to better catalogue these works and to allow for easier referencing and which will eventually be accessible via Internet.
The Salesian Center for Marian Documentation is dedicated to
FR. PIETRO CERESA SDB in recognition and merit of his many years as founder and curator of the Center.