St. Jude Sculpture
Created by artist Saul Bernstein - Professor Emeritus of Art at Cal State University, Northridge
More information about the artist, Saul Bernstein
In this sculpture I tried to show how Saint Jude overcame his fears about the endeavor of curing a faraway king of his illness. By turning his head to the left he is looking at those he fears. Jude went to Jesus for help and Jesus pressed his image into a piece of fabric and produced his image. This gave the saint the confidence that he wouldn't be alone. The face of Jesus in the sculpture is looking to the right where the world of the positive exists. The staff that Saint Jude holds also points to the right for added assurance. Finally, the folds in his robe flow from the left to the right in movement from fear to positive reassurance. - Saul Bernstein
The Story Behind the St. Jude Sculpture
Saul Bernstein began as a sculptor and over time was drawn toward painting. Little did he know that painting would then lead him back to a very important sculpture!
Saul worked with a framer by the name of Jim Nocero, who along with his wife Norma were members of the St. Raymond's Retreat House in Southern California. Upon one of Saul's visits to Jim, the framer asked him if he would ever consider doing sculpture. Saul was surprised and curious. Jim asked Saul if he would consider doing a sculpture of St. Jude, the Patron Saint of Lost Causes, for St. Raymond's Retreat House.
Once Saul agreed to do the sculpture, Jim organized the funding for it. A violinist from St. Raymond's Retreat House, by the name of Spiro Stamos, together with his wife Catherine, raised some of the money for the St. Jude sculpture by giving a benefit concert.
Saul was concerned about the execution of this important sculpture because of its large size. He knew that such an enormous and heavy mold would likely require an extensive amount of touching up - there would inevitably be many cracks throughout. When Saul removed it from the casting he was astonished. There weren't any cracks to be found. "This is what happens when you do work for a saint" he said. All of his life Saul had been trying to uncover the thinking of the great masters of art. And now he found himself putting everything he had learned - from the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo and the rest - into this special sculpture. He also studied the sun patterns at the St. Raymond's property so that the expression of St. Jude would be just right at all times of day.
When the St. Jude Sculpture was installed at St. Raymond's Retreat House, Fr. Tom Sanner was the director and witnessed the effect the sculpture had on the lives of many in his community. People came to the Retreat House and sculpture praying to St. Jude and bringing personal stories of pain and suffering. Fr. Tom introduced Saul to one man who was so thankful for the work Saul had done because, he said, through St. Jude's intercession, God cured him. He said to Saul, "this sculpture cured me of my cancer." Saul replied by saying "you were not healed by this sculpture, but you were healed by your belief in St. Jude."
Fr. Tom told Saul, "now that you've done something good for St. Jude, it will be returned to you". Not a Catholic, and not having any previous connection to St. Jude, Saul began to see that his life was changing too. He began to see St. Jude working amidst the surprising twists and turns in his own career as through the years opportunities became available all around him. He wanted to see the sculpture again but discovered that St. Raymond's had closed and the sculpture had been removed.
Saul began asking everyone involved if they knew where the sculpture had gone, to no avail. In 1996, Norma and Jim Nocero saw the sculpture at the DSPT campus on Ridge Road in Berkeley. A few years later, Saul got a phone call from a friend by the name of Deacon George Bednar and his wife Marianne. During a visit to San Francisco, they took a tour of a the GTU and the DSPT. George called Saul to tell him, "I think we found your sculpture." Saul was delighted and quickly made a plan to visit DSPT. Finally, he was reunited with the sculpture and welcomed by the staff and faculty of the little school in Berkeley.
Because it is a movable work of art, the St. Jude sculpture was salvaged when St. Raymond's closed. The Dominicans had originally commissioned the St. Jude sculpture and have operated the renowned St. Jude Shrine in San Francisco since the closing of St. Raymond's Retreat House. Because DSPT is aided by funds accrued by the shrine, the sculpture was brought out of storage and erected in the garden of DSPT as a reminder that much of this educational apostolate is supported by St. Jude and his shrine.
Follow these links to see more of Saul's artwork: