Analysis of Monuments in Xavier University

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The “Dance of Tears” monument has been placed in the courtyard behind the McDonald Library in late 1998 or early 1999. The statue was created by Barbara Trauth who had created many other meaningful statues prior to the Dance of Tears. The design of the statue was shown to Barb Trauth, Jim Landers, Walter Bonvell, JoAnne Young, Carol Ranking, Richard Hirte, and Mike Graham. The decided budget for the statue was between $86,000 and $110,000. At this time, there was no evidence of concern involving the political views of the students and staff members. The statue is located in a quiet and peaceful place so people can reflect on their thoughts. It was created to “promote healing”.The statue is composed of three women dancing in a spirit of prayer and praise. The three women represent the body, mind, and soul. “Each bronze figure is reaching up to heaven; the mind with an arm crossing her forehead, the body with an arm crossing her torso and the soul kneeling with one arm outstretched. A whirling circle represents loss. The water represents the tears of sorrow, and from them, come the cleansing, healing, and new life in Christ Jesus.”

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The statue might look like it is being engulfed in flames, but the sculptor says it is the women’s tears surrounding them. The creator, Barbara Trauth, said she dedicated the statue to all people who experience agony and loss, but how are women supposed to move on when the statue is a constant reminder when they go to the library? Xavier University has hoped that this symbol would have a healing effect and create a desire for a full life. “University officials say they intend for the space to provoke reflection on abortion.”

Xavier is a Jesuit Catholic institution, so the ties between the school and the statue are apparent. The statue somewhat divides the community into pro-life groups and pro-choice groups. Abortion today is very controversial, especially at a school with a Jesuit Catholic background. “Dance of Tears” is a visual depiction of what some women experience after abortion.” Women can suffer from Post-abortion syndrome. The statue stands to remind the students and staff of Xavier the lives that have been lost due to abortion and the pain that is still present. This statue in particular is the most controversial of all. The people of Xavier were split due to this statue. In fact, female professors started a petition to remove the statue. “Women faculty from different buildings on campus agreed to initiate a petition and to be responsible to have the petition signed by women faculty in their buildings.”

There seems to be a lot more negative responses compared to the positive ones, but that could be biased based on who the newspaper reporters interview. Dr. Allison Russes said, “I would have preferred a less provocative sculpture, I can’t imagine that it might console a women who has had an abortion, because it seems more judgemental than anything else.” Dr. Carol Winkelmann has also stated, “it doesn’t matter if you are pro-life or pro-choice, what makes me uncomfortable is that it associates women’s bodies with sin and guilt.” Many of whom the Newswire interviewed believed that the statue was to implement shame and guilt. It gives a negative view of womens bodys. On the contrary Elena Blair, who is a Newswire reporter, said that, “it expresses the human condition through women in an unparalleled way. The sculpture shows the reality of sin in the concrete as affecting the essence of womanhood, the transforming work of repentance in women’s condition, and the uplifting force of redemption in the movement of the whole work to the sky.”

Finally, another staff member of the Newswire included his opinion. John Whitaker states that “The college years should be spent exploring all options in a non-judgemental atmosphere.” The statue is meant to create judgement upon ourselves. Women might sit out on the quite patio with the statue and feel shame and disappointment. Universities have students from all different religious backgrounds, not just the religion the university takes after. School should be considered a safe place for learning, not somewhere where individuals feel judged and uneasy.

Shrine of Our Lady, Queen of Victory and Peace is located along Victory Parkway on Xavier’s campus. The monument was created in 1943 and dedicated July 11th of that year. It was designed by the architect, Albert V. Walters. The statue was created from limestone by the Cincinnati sculptor, Ernest Bruce Haswell.The sculpture was of Mary holding her baby, a plaque, and a list of names. “It represents Mary, the Alma Mater of all mankind, giving her son for victory over sin and peace in the hearts of men.” Along with the statue was a bronze plaque that read, “to the greater glory of God and to the sons of Xavier men who serve in the armed forces of our Country, especially to those who give their lives in out cause, this Shrine of Our Lady, Queen of Victory and Peace, is humbly dedicated by the alumni and friends of Xavier University.”

The purpose of this shrine was to honor the nation’s armed forces in World War II, but then later other names were added from additional wars. The community really appreciated the monument due to its involvement with the people they knew. Many had hoped that the lady in the statue were to watch over those in war. Many members of the community who are not of the Catholic faith had stated,“Americans outside the Church are grateful to the Catholic Church for its consistent and rigorous stand against Communism.” About 1,000 people gathered when the shrine was put up. Due to the fact that this is a Catholic institution, there was some controversy regarding to the statue and violence. As a Catholic, violence is wrong, which goes along with war. According to the Xavier Newswire, “one suited man felt it his duty to curse the person reading the names. A nun attending Saturday classes attempted to stop the readings by expressing her views in opposition to the entire vigil.” The statue in no way was meant to be political. “The purpose of the vigil centered in around the Christian responsibility to pray for the dead, and did not advocate any political stand on the Vietnam War.” The statue was built out of respect for the loss of our loved ones. The plaque that went along with the statue just so happened to go missing. “The last mental note of the plaque was given by Father Folley as to it being taken down for cleaning and held pending upon the movement of the shrine to a better location.”

To this day, the plaque is still missing and is considered a sad mystery. In later years, the Newswire brought attention back to Shrine of Our Lady, Queen of Victory and Peace. The paper addressed the issue how the monument has been forgotten. “Shaded and unattended, realistically neglected, Our Lady of Victory and Peace stands forgotten.” It is sad to see a statue, who was dedicated to many honorable men, be ignored.

In conclusion, both statues are barely noticed today. In their prime, they had some level of controversial connections. Almost everyone has forgotten and paid no attention to these beautiful monuments. The Dance of Tears certainly seems to be concealed for a reason. The Shrine of Our Lady, Queen of Victory and Peace seems to be perfectly placed right in front to be noticed, but has failed over the years. Both have deeper meaning than what they lead on. Both are intended for reflection or even mourning of the deceased.

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