|The Christmas Room at Mater Ecclesiae College|
By Carolina Tavares
Greenville, Rhode Island -- The “elves” are hard
at work Mater Ecclesiae College (MEC).
From now until December
18, 2011, these volunteer student “elves” will be building the
school’s traditional Christmas Room. For now, the creative process lies
behind a curtain. But on December 18, 2011, the curtain
Up until last year, the Christmas Room was
not unveiled until Christmas Eve. Students, staff and guests were
not allowed to view the Christmas Room until after Midnight
Mass. But, according to President Deb Bauer, the date has
been moved up for the benefit of the entire community.
“The Christmas Room is definitely a creative form of coming
into contact with the mystery of the Incarnation,” said MEC
student Becca Olek. “It is designed to be an ‘experience’
-- a prayer in art form. That is why we
have decided to work a little bit faster to have
it ready earlier this year. We want to share the
experience with our families and friends and anyone who wishes
to partake of this original form of prayer.”
MEC is extending
an open invitation to all to come and experience the
Christmas Room to “touch and see the mystery of Christmas”
in a unique way.
“We especially invite all the children,
who will enjoy finding the little animals throughout the display
and, at the same time, see what Christmas is really
all about,” said Ale Curiel, MEC student. “And for all
those who just enjoy the Christmas spirit, viewing the Christmas
Room is for you too!”
Each year, the Christmas Room design
turns out slightly different, depending on the inspiration of the
student volunteers. “The experience affects each person who sees it
in a different way,” said MEC student Amelia Hoover. “And
each person goes away with a different reaction to what
they’ve seen. There are enough symbols integrated into the setup
which lend themselves to different interpretations.”
In 2009, the room was
designed to incorporate the entire life of Jesus. The “Little
Town of Bethlehem” included a carpenter shop, illustrating Jesus’ hidden
life, and a bakery representing His public life, specifically the
miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. The myrrh from
the magi was intended to represent Jesus’ passion, and a
bonfire with fish represented the Resurrection account in Chapter 21
of the Gospel of John.
In 2010, the design team
built the Nativity scene in a cave to give the
impression of the inner chamber of the soul.
next to the cave symbolized how we can go down
into our own heart to find Jesus who truly is
born within us,” said Sarah Pacini, MEC student.
Under the staircase,
some took the stream of water to represent how grace
leads us to find Jesus.
Faces and positions of the
statues can invoke different feelings as well. Some people might
identify with the bewildered shepherd, thinking, “How is this possible…God
among us?” Others might respond to the little girl who
looks like she wants to give baby Jesus a kiss.
Still others might relate to the young man lost in
thought, asking “Is this baby for me?”
“By identifying with
a character in the Christmas Room, a person might realize
where they are on their own faith journey and decide
to keep walking along with the shepherds, or the magi
or even the animals,” said MEC student Gaby Ruiloba.
Choir will be giving a Christmas concert followed by a
guided tour of the “Christmas Room,” refreshments will be available
to cheer weary travelers.
If you would like to be part
of this yearly MEC tradition, mark your calendar for the
following open viewing dates and times.
• December 18, 3:00 pm –
• December 20, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
28, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
• January 1, 3:00 pm
– 5:00 pm
For more information, go to http://www.mecollege.edu/ or
contact Susan Girard at (401) 949-2820
To read a consecrated woman´s description
of the Christmas experience at Mater Ecclesiae, click here.