Christ the King
Located in the north ambulatory is the Shrine of Christ the King. Carved in wood, the robed and crowned Christus is enthroned in regal dignity on a pedestal of black and gold marble. It was executed by the hands of William Hoppe. Above the shrine, the inscription reads: Adveniat Regnum Tuum! (Thy Kingdom Come!)
Infant Jesus of Prague
The origin of the original Infant Jesus of Prague is shrouded in legend. It is known for certain that the Holy Image was brought from Spain to Prague in the sixteenth century, and in 1628 it was presented to the Discalced Carmelites of Prague where the Holy Image is still preserved and displayed to this day in the church of Our Lady of Victory. The figure represents the symbolic synthesis of the Kingship and Holy Infancy of Jesus. The original statue and its countless copies have been the object of deep devotion through the Christian world.
This statue dating to the early seventeenth century, like that of the original presented to Queen Juana, depicts the Holy Child dressed in a royal robe with a scepter in one hand while making a gesture of benediction with the other. His majesty and divinity are symbolized by a halo beautifully fashioned from brass. The Child stands on a base supported by carved floral brackets framing a spherical orb that symbolizes His earthly dominion. The sculpture's realistic details were created through the application of gesso, a plaster-like base, over a carved hardwood surface that was then painted and gilded.
Cristo Cucifado con Angelos
This rather primitive altar cross reflects the folk-art tradition of the Spanish missions. Without any specific reference to Scripture, a puppet-like figure of Jesus is cucified amid a pair of angels kneeling in prayer. The piece is heavily worn to reveal the technique in which it was made involving the layering of plaster gesso over the carved wood form prior to the application of natural-pigment paints. The decorative band of floral decoration in pink at the foot of the cross and across the base may allude symbolically to the sacrificial blood of the Passion. While the sculptor's attempt was undoubtedly anatomical correctness, instead the bodily features have been simplified and stylized in accordance with limited technical dexterity of the unschooled craftsman. Because Christ's forearms are jointed, it is most likely that the corpus was removed in order to be carried in procession during the Easter Triduum.
Mary, Our Lady of Grace
On the left side of the sanctuary stands the elegant figure of the Virgin Mary, "Our Lady of Grace." Done in South American mahogany, the statue was created by Polasek.
Madonna of Corn
In the gentle curve of the apse in the Our Lady of Nebraska chapel above a marble altar stands the Madonna of Corn. In her graceful hands, she holds a stalk and ear of corn, symbolic of her solicitude for the material as well as the spiritual well-being of the faithful of the state. The backdrop is a celestial garden painted in buon secco of night blue, rose, and gold stars. The statue was carved of Carrara marble by Arthur E. Lorenzani from a full-size plaster model created by Polasek.
Mary of the Immaculate Conception
On the north side of the altar in the Nash Chapel is a statue of Mary of the Immaculate Conception, carved in wood by Polasek.
Saint Joseph with the Young Jesus
The shrine standing in the south ambulatory is of Saint Joseph, the carpenter, with the young Jesus. Saint Joseph stands in the capacity as patron of the worker. The two bronze inscriptions on either side recall the two great papal encyclicals dealing with capital and labor, the Rerum Movarum of Pope Leo XIII and the Quadragesima Anno of Pope Pius XI. The shrine was executed by Edward Donahue of New York City.
Saint Joseph with the Christ Child
On the south side of the altar in the Nash Chapel is a statue of Saint Joseph with the Christ Child, carved in wood by Polasek.
John the Baptist with Jesus
Light from the two stained glass windows glints on the bronze figures of John the Baptist with the young Christ crowning the font cover.
Enshrined in niches along the curving apse wall are statues of eleven apostles design by Polasek: John, Andrew, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the Greater, James the Lesser, Philip, Matthias, Jude and Simon.
This late seventeenth century statue, Santiago, is made of polychromed gesso over wood with gold leaf and silver. A symbolic reference to the countless pilgrimages that were made to Saint James' celebrated shrine is made through his attribute, a scallop shell, that is emblazoned on the figure's chest. His robe is carved and decorated to simulate a rich silk brocade fabric with voluminous folds and a stamped estafado design is embossed into the gesso through layers of red clay and applied gold leaf. The swooning stance of the figure and his facial expression seem to allude to a spiritual encounter with the Holy Spirit that is affirmed by a beautifully wrought silver halo above the saint's head. Originally this bulto may have formed part of a large altar screen in a Mexican church where it would have been located in a recessed alcove or nicho that was, in all likelihood, amongst figures of the other apostles.
Located in the south ambulatory is the Shrine of Saint Ann. Portrayed in the niche is a polychromed carved statue of the saint and her infant daughter, Mary.
Doctors of the Church
Surrounding the ambo, which was designed by Kimball, are the statues of six great doctors of the church. All the figures were designed and carved in South American mahogany by Polasek. Left to right: Saint Peter, holding the keys of the kingdom and a fisherman's net; Saint Paul, with letters, as a warrior of the Lord; Saint Jerome, with pen and book, who translated the Bible into Latin; Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, with staff and whip, who was a great orator, teacher, and theologian; Saint Pope Gregory the Great, with dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit, who introduced the Gregorian chant; Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, with staff and book, who formalized many doctrines of the church.
The statue of Saint Jude, who was one of the original apostles and who has been invoked as a Patron Saint, helper of hopeless causes, stands in the apsidal ambulatory, on the north side of the sanctuary. The statue was carved in Italy.
Archangel San Gabriel
Archangel Gabriel belongs to the cadre of angelic messengers of God and is among the four archangels of the highest heavenly realm. Saint Gabriel is the well known angel of the annunciation who appeared to the Virgin Mary announcing the news of her immaculate conception. The sculptor has depicted Gabriel's arms raised aloft in a prayerful orant gesture toward heaven. He holds a dagger in hand, symbolic of his alternate role as angelic defender, which may have replaced the original lily flower that is the traditional attribute for purity associated with Saint Gabriel and the Virgin Mary. He wears a tiered skirt that suggests the then fashionable dress of the Spanish court. This small bulto is carved from wood that is polychromed and gilded, and stands within an architectural niche. It was almost certainly once part of a multi-tiered retable altarpiece. The spiraled shafts of the columns framing the niche are characteristic of a type called colmna salmonica, after the Biblical Temple of Solomon, that were common in mid-seventeenth century Mexican Baroque sculpture.
Archangel San Rafael
Angels and archangels were frequently represented in Spanish Colonial paintings and sculpture. The Archangel Raphael, whose name means "the Medicine of God," is the principal guardian angel. He is portrayed here as a youthful winged warrior clad in military armor. This piece may have formed part of an angelic grouping and in all probability adorned a niche of an altar screen. As protector of the young and innocent, the pilgrim and wayfarer, Raphael is usually pictured as a kind, gentle, and loving spiritual being. The sculptor has conveyed a sense of this benign attitude through his smooth complexion and balanced facial features that are at once serene in expression and attentive to his watchful charge. His right hand holds a walking staff in reference to his role as guardian spirit of pilgrims. Both his hands and now his bald head (that may at one time have been covered by animal hair) are sensitively rendered in realistic detail and have a thin layer of gesso over the carved wood that formed the base layer for the application of paint (a process called encarnacion was used for creating realistic skin tones). Raphael's armor is a variation on classical Greco-Roman style and is richly elaborate in decoration. The hinged silver breastplate and plumed helmet, while modern in date, are accurate reproductions of the style of indigenous silversmiths of the Spanish Colonial period. The resplendent wings and breastplate were fashioned by hand-wrought techniques that include repousse (pressing a thin sheet of metal from the back and then tooling it until the design is formed) chasing, casting, chiseling, and hammering.
~The Beauty of Thy House, 2005