An Allegorical Representation of Stift Heiligenkreuz

On the ceiling above the stairs leading to the abbot’s apartments in Heiligenkreuz there is an allegorical representation of the monastery. Stift Heiligenkreuz is represented by a lady in armor with shield and spear. Above the monastery are the three theological virtues: Faith, represented by a lady with the cross and chalice; hope with an anchor; and love, nursing a baby. A ray of light from the faith bounces off Heiligenkreuz’s shield, and drives away the powers of evil: demons, heretics, and deceitful women.

Monstra te esse matrem


Monstrance of silver, gold, and precious stones. 66 cm high. Vienna 1704.

I never understood how some people can object to the custom of praying the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. What could be a more appropriate response to the real, true, and substantial presence of the Incarnate Word than to call out to his Blessed Mother the very greeting with which the Incarnation itself was announced: “Hail, full of grace!” The baroque goldsmiths knew this perfectly, as this Monstrance from  the Schatzkammer in Vienna shows. It is, as the official guide book points out, a kind of Latin version of the Byzantine “Platytera”.