St. Gregory’s Gives Patron Saint New Crosier
The leader of St. Gregory’s monastery ascended to the top of Benedictine Hall Tuesday, Sept. 3, to return the symbol of office to the statue of the university’s patron saint.
Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen, of St. Gregory’s Abbey, placed the golden crosier, a ceremonial staff carried by a bishop or an abbot, hooked at one end like a shepherd’s crook, into the hand of the statue of St. Gregory the Great, as part of the restoration of Benedictine Hall.
“A crosier is a symbol of a bishop’s or an abbot’s office of shepherding the flock entrusted to him,” Stasyszen said. “Of course, we have placed ourselves under the protection and patronage of Pope St. Gregory the Great, so it’s wonderful that this statue is at one of the highest points on campus, just under the cross, so it has him physically looking over the monastery and campus and university.
“One of the names that was ascribed to St. Gregory was ‘the Watchman,’ as a watchman over God’s people. He is physically and spiritually watching over us here at St. Gregory’s.”
The statue of St. Gregory was sculpted by a member of St. Gregory’s arts faculty and placed atop Benedictine Hall in 1976 to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Benedictine monastic community that founded St. Gregory’s.
“When it was placed, the leadership at the time placed the crosier of our first two abbots in the statue’s hand,” Stasyszen said. “With this historic renovation, we wanted to bring that crosier back into the monastery for preservation purposes, and the abbey commissioned a new crosier as a gift for the Benedictine Hall Centennial Restoration Project.”
The fact that the placement of the new crosier with the statue occurred on Sept. 3 was especially fortuitous, as it was the anniversary of the day St. Gregory was elected pope 1,423 years ago on Sept. 3, 590.
“St. Gregory was one of the very few popes with ‘the Great’ ascribed to his name,” Stasyszen said. “The designation comes about as a result of the great influence that the pope or the saint had not only on matters of the church, but really in matters of world history.”