By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Photographer | Published December 20, 2018
CONYERS—The Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers is showcasing a Christmas crèche exhibit thanks to Covington resident and St. Pius X Church parishioner, Marcy Borkowski-Glass. The exhibit, which opened Dec. 3 and runs until Dec. 29, showcases some 500 nativity scenes from Glass’ personal collection and a select few from the monastery.
The nativity scenes feature a multitude of colors and sizes. They reflect various cultures. Borkowski-Glass, a volunteer docent at the monastery’s Monastic Museum and Visitor Center, started collecting the nativities in 1974. Today, her collection numbers over 500 sets. In recent years, she has kept 200 on display in her home year-round as it became too time-consuming to put them up and then take them down.
When Borkowski-Glass or her late husbands traveled to countries like Costa Rica, Colombia, France, Guatemala, Mexico and Poland, she would bring a nativity back home. Marcy’s first husband, Mario (Borkowski) died in June of 2003 and her second husband, Michael (Glass), died in October of this year, hence her hyphenated name. Borkowski-Glass said both of her late husbands were Christian men who loved the nativity sets, and were thrilled with her idea of collecting unusual nativities.
When friends became aware that Borkowski-Glass was a crèche collector, they would present her with nativities. Countries like Kenya, Denmark, England and the Philippines are places she has never traveled to, yet she has received gifts of nativities from those places.
The nativities are made of numerous materials including ceramics, shells, pewter, papier-mâché, alabaster, corn husk and wax, to name a few.
Pat Strickland resides in Rockmart and attends St. Ann Church, Marietta. She viewed the exhibit Dec. 15.
“It’s the most nativities I’ve ever seen in one place,” said Strickland. “What’s neat about the exhibit is how so many different cultures have embraced the iconic representation of the birth of Christ and made it their own.”
Borkowski-Glass had the idea for the exhibition because she wanted to draw people’s attention away from the commercial aspect of the season and have them concentrate on the gifts of Jesus.
Brother Callistus Crichlow, OCSO, who handles public relations and planning for the monastery, is appreciative to Borkowski-Glass for sharing her collection with the public. He also expressed his thanks to the volunteers who helped unbox the crèches, and in particular, to Ana Cecilia Tapia and Auvronette Guilbeaux for the staging and placement of each crèche in the exhibit.
“Their passion and love, and the countless hours they put into the exhibit’s floor design, warmed my heart,” said Brother Callistus. He added they have encouraged him to do it again next year with one caveat: instead of having the exhibit the entire month of December it will likely run the two weeks before Christmas.
Visitors are welcome to stop by this year’s exhibit, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed Sundays). The monastery is located at 2625 Highway 212 SW in Conyers.