Friday, December 21, 2012

Crèches of the Monastery

A crèche can invoke special memories, or continue a seasonal tradition. It can reflect a culture, or an artistic talent, and have a wide variety of sizes and shapes. The collection of crèches at the monastery reflects all those qualities, and all are a special part of the archives collection.

Ms. Melody Mazuk recently donated several crèches to Sister Rebecca Abel and Sister Norma Fultz. Collected by Mazuk’s mother in her world travels, the entire collection was dispersed to several entities. A few of those donated are shown.


The donation included 11 miniature crèches, the smallest of which was housed in a walnut.

This display is constructed of thin metal, as shown with the piece on the far right. It folds flat and is stored in a decorative metal box with a poinsettia engraved on the lid.

The monastery’s crèche collection is dispersed throughout the house for the Christmas season. Here’s a peak at just a few of them.
Brought to the monastery in 1867 by Mother Alexia Lechner, Prioress of St. Walburg Monastery of Covington, Kentucky, this crèche was the first at the monastery in Ferdinand. Made of solid marble, it is now displayed throughout the year.

Given to the archives in 1974, Sisters Bertilla Burger and Antoinette Fischer of Ferdinand, made these crèches in the Academy Immaculate Conception Art Department using scrap materials from the Ferdinand Furniture Factories.

Another one of our sisters, Sister Francesca Broggin, made this depiction of the holy family. A very talented artist in various media, Sister Francesca made several characters displayed at the monastery during Christmas utilizing a similar technique .

Julie Ubelhor, an alum and former teacher at Marian Heights Academy, gifted this set to the sisters in 1984.

Josef Bachlechner of Austria carved this three piece display in 1960.


This Precious Moments crèche is the most recent addition to the monastery’s collection, donated by Sister Linda Bittner’s mother, Julian, in 2010.


  1. They are all so pretty and unique. We have one large set purchased in 1965 and a very small set given to us this year. Our tree and creches remain on display until the Epiphany. A lot of people in Madison keep their Christmas displays up and lit until the Epiphany. Thanks for sharing yours, Love, L

  2. Loved seeing the collection! I find a love for creche collecting! My latest is the Peanuts group! I leave our decorations up until the Epiphany. Thank you for sharing