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Examen

St. Ignatius Memorial
Jeremy Leichman
Joan Benefiel
2011
21st century

Object Type: Sculpture
Creation Place: North America, America
Medium and Support: Bronze
Credit Line: University Commission, 2011
Accession Number: CAC2011.01.10
The title of this sculpture, “Examen,” refers to the spiritual exercise of self-reflection developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Order of the Society of Jesus, more commonly known as the Jesuits. Fittingly, the sculpture is located outside the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola on Fairfield University’s campus.

The two life-size bronze figures are identical except for their color (one white and one black). They mirror each other in a graceful, dancer-like pose that suggests the self-examination practiced during the Examen. The figures’ bare feet and religious habits further symbolize their vocation as one of devotion to God. The faces of each sculpture were created using a cast of St. Ignatius’ death mask, to which the sculptors were given access at the museum of the church of the Gesù in Rome.

The word "Examen" is engraved on two sides of the sculpture’s base. Engraved plaques surrounding the sculpture include the symbol of the Jesuit Order: the letters IHS, taken from the first three letters of Jesus’ name in Greek, as well as the word Examination, and three acts that form part of this twice-daily practice: Contrition, Hope, and Thanksgiving.

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