Abbey Cemetery Sculpture
Yesterday we celebrated the annual November All Souls Abbey Cemetery Service in which we remember all those buried there and also by name all of our deceased Associates. The visual focus of our cemetery and of the annual service is Anthony Visco’s bronze sculpture “Norbert Presenting His Follower to the Risen Christ,” or more exactly “Norbert Presenting Hugh of Fosse to the Risen Christ.” Hugh was Norbert’s closest associate, and when Norbert left Prémontré (1126) to take up his new ministry as Archbishop of Magdeburg (Germany) the community at Prémontré asked Norbert for permission to elect a superior in his place. Hugh, not surprisingly, was elected as the first abbot of Prémontré and so, also, the Order’s first abbot general. The story goes that, at that time, in a dream Hugh saw Norbert presenting him to the Risen Christ. Anthony Visco’s sculpture can be seen either as Norbert lifting Hugh to Christ and/or Norbert lifting all his deceased followers (in the person of Hugh) to the fullness of eternal life in Christ. On a nice day, take a walkout to the cemetery and spend some time contemplating on this exceptional piece of religious art and your own first encounter in eternity with the Risen Christ.
-Rev. Andrew D. Ciferni, O. Praem.