Washington, DC, January 11, 2011
Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa honored in National Cathedral Human Rights Porch
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Washington, D.C.—Washington National Cathedral has announced the commencement of new stone carvings to depict civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks and humanitarian Mother Teresa. The carvings will complete two “label mould termination stones,” which are stones at the end of arches over a portal, in the Human Rights Porch of the Cathedral. Sculpted by Chas Fagan of North Carolina, the carvings of Parks and Mother Teresa will be done by Cathedral stone carver Sean Callahan, beginning with Parks.
“The people selected to appear in the iconography of the Human Rights Porch were chosen because of their extraordinary actions and contributions to the cause of human rights, social justice, and the welfare of their fellow human beings,” said Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III.
Rosa Parks was born in Tuskegee, Ala., on February 4, 1913. Her arrest for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Ala., on December 1, 1955, is often cited as the beginning of the movement against legal segregation in America. President Bill Clinton awarded Parks the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996, and she received a Congressional Gold Medal in 1999. Parks died in 2005 at the age of 92. Her casket was placed in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol for two days; she is the only woman in American history ever accorded that honor.
Mother Teresa, born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Macedonia in 1910, was a Catholic nun of Albanian descent who founded her own order, the Missionaries of Charity, in Calcutta, India, in 1950. Her order, which has expanded internationally to more than 125 countries, ministers to the most disenfranchised people of the world, including the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and died on September 5, 1997.
Carvings of Rosa Parks and Mother Teresa will join four other carvings already in the porch: Archbishop Óscar Romero; former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt; Bishop John Walker; and the “Human Rights Half Boss,” which depicts the biblical verse, “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). The Cathedral’s Fabric and Fine Arts Committee recommended the honorees, who were approved by Dean Lloyd.
Callahan came to the Cathedral in 1987, apprenticed under the late Vince Palumbo, and carved many of the angels, crockets, finials, and other elements of the west towers. Upon the Cathedral’s completion in 1990, Callahan worked on exterior restoration of the White House and projects at the Lincoln Memorial. He returned to the Cathedral in 2004, where he has since carved tablets, shields, and lettering, as well as re-carved damaged and deteriorated elements.
Fagan is a noted sculptor, painter, and portraitist. The Cathedral last commissioned his work in 2001, when he sculpted statues of noted clergy John Donne, George Herbert, and Howard Thurman for placement above the sedilia, the seats on the south side of the high altar. Raised in Brussels, Belgium, he currently resides in North Carolina.
The Cathedral seeks support in underwriting the two new carvings, which are expected to be completed by Easter of this year. The Cathedral will be posting time-lapsed photographs of the carvings in progress on its website at www.nationalcathedral.org/carving.
About Washington National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral is a church for national purposes called to embody God’s love and to welcome people of all faiths and perspectives. A unique blend of the spiritual and the civic, this Episcopal cathedral is a voice for generous-spirited Christianity and a catalyst for reconciliation and interfaith dialogue to promote respect and understanding. We invite all people to share in our commitment to create a more hopeful and just world.
SOURCE: Washington National Cathedral