Xavier University to bless new statue of Patron Saint

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Xavier University will bless a new statue of the University's patron saint, St. Francis Xavier, at a brief ceremony at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, December 2nd. During the ceremony, Xavier will also rename a portion of Ledgewood Avenue to Francis Xavier Way. The ceremony is part of a celebration of St. Francis's feast day which is December 3rd.

The statue is located on the traffic turnabout between Smith Hall and Conaton Learning Commons just north of the current intersection of Ledgewood and Dana Avenue.

During the ceremony Ledgewood Avenue from Dana Avenue to just before Bellarmine Chapel will be renamed Francis Xavier Way. The portion of Ledgewood Avenue on Xavier's north campus which intersects with Victory Parkway will remain Ledgewood Avenue.

St. Francis Xavier, one of St. Ignatius Loyola's (the founder of the Jesuits) closest friends and an original founding companion of the Society of Jesus, is most honored by the Catholic Church, other Christian churches, and the Jesuit order for his missionary accomplishments particularly in India, Southeast Asia and Japan.

The 11-foot 3-inch tall bronze statue, which sits atop an 11-foot base, was installed today (11.29). Though St. Xavier is depicted wearing a standard Jesuit cassock he wears atypical footwear, Japanese sandals. The sandals represent the years he spent in Japan. St. Xavier is posed reaching out in a welcoming gesture with his right hand while holding a breviary (liturgical book) in his other hand.

The statue was created by Cincinnati-based artist Tom Tsuchiya. Watch a video of Tsuchiya creating the statue.

Tsuchiya's (pronounced soo-chee-ya) career began with another larger-than-life sculpture of a larger-than-life figure—D'Artagnan. The sculpture is based on the hero of Dumas' novels. D'Artagnan was a 17th-century French Musketeer, who inspired Xavier's nickname, and now stands in front of the Cintas Center.

Tsuchiya also created the statue of former Xavier chancellor (and past president) the late James E. Hoff, S.J., that now stands in front of the new dining hall at Xavier, as well as four Cincinnati Reds players in front of Great American Ballpark, the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award for the National Football League and a host of other private and public works.

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