Manresa visitors touched by sculpture

October 12, 2021 in Featured News, News

Manresa, the Jesuit Centre for Spirituality in Dublin, adapted swiftly to the unexpected challenges of the  Covid 19 pandemic. Other longer terms plans also came to fruition with the launch of their new website at the beginning of autumn and a summertime delivery from Brussels of a sculpture entitled ‘Metanoia’ by widely acclaimed Belgian artist Johan Tahon.

The sculpture portrays the artist’s response to the story of  St Ignatius’ conversion and is one of a limited edition. The other five copies of the sculpture are in Drongen (Belgium), Manresa, and Loyola (Spain), the General Curia in Rome, and in the Vatican. Tahon, who is East Flemish, presented his sculpture to Pope Francis in person, after the Pope had indicated he would like to meet with him.

The work is made of sandstone and covered with a varnish that is resistant to all temperatures. It can be displayed both indoors and outdoors.”Like many of the artworks in Manresa, it is a piece that can stay easily in the background until given attention and time,” says Manresa’s director, Piaras Jackson. “While it is not yet in a fitting location,” he adds, “retreatants have already been touched by and have identified with the figure in this sculpture.”

The artist also presented his work in person to Fr Arturo Sosa, leader of the Jesuits worldwide. When he came with it to the General Curia in Rome in May of this year, he spoke to Fr Sosa about what the sculpture meant to him.

Johan Tahon said he became interested in the spirituality of St Ignatius through his contact with the Jesuits in Flanders. Along with the Flemish Jesuit Jan Koenot, he went to Spain to visit places of importance in the life of St Ignatius.

He was especially touched by the place where Ignatius began his journey of conversion in Loyola after being struck in the leg by a cannonball. This inspired Tahon to present Ignatius in pain, but also in reflection as when he spent a prolonged time alone afterwards in the cave at Manresa, where he was transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Read more here about the artist and his work by his friend Jan Koenot SJ.

Photo: © Francesco Zizola