Burning Bush Tabernacle
Burning Bush Tabernacle by John Collier
For their new church a prominent tabernacle was needed to house the host in a chapel of perpetual adoration. The tabernacle needed to have a window that could be covered during Good Friday.
In discussion between the artist and the pastor of this church it was suggested that a tabernacle might be designed in the form of the burning bush from the Moses story, indicating a holy place.
The artist suggested the bush might be a fruit tree as fruit figures prominently in church symbolism. Moreover apples in a work of art symbolize Christ’s victory over sin. The tree has three trunks symbolizing the Holy Trinity. There are many branches bearing apples. Some of the branches are broken. One has broken away from the tree; it bears no fruit. We must abide in Christ to bear fruit. The artist has created fruit as a recurring design element in other pieces within this church.
Since the tabernacle was to be composed of branches, these needed to be connected to each other to keep them from moving.
The artist combined the tree sculpture with the sun burst of a traditional monstrance. It stands as the sun seen rising through the apple tree.
Normally the artist might sculpt in clay or plaster using the lost wax procedure for a bronze sculpture, but in this instance the work was created in wax. Then the wax pieces were cast into bronze and welded together. The welds were then chased, and the whole piece was finished with a patina.
Installed at St. Gianna Beretta Molla Catholic Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba