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St. Francis and the Birds - Rochester, MN

Charles Gagnon's heroic size Saint Francis and the Birds bronze sculpture which was commissioned by Sister Mary Brigh, OSF, the administrator of Saint Mary’s Hospital and benefactor B. Vander Steen, in Rochester, Minnesota. It was unveiled September 27, 1969 after two and a half creative years including research into the life of Saint Francis in Italy. Charles E. Gagnon portrays Saint Francis as a young man with a full head of hair before he started the religious order. Gagnon's Saint Francis is comfortable with nature and the doves he loved on Mount Sabasio in Assisi, Italy. The ten foot  sculpture is a symbol of hope, peace and love for all patients and hospital visitors.

More detail . . .
"I will let the work speak for itself. I have tried to portray St. Francis the man, a symbol of humanism and hope."​
Charles E. Gagnon
Dedication of St. Francis and the Birds Sculpture

Location: Mayo Clinic Hospital-St. Mary’s Campus, Rochester, Minnesota

Installation Date:  September 27, 1969

Materials: Heroic bronze sculpture on travertine marble base

Description: The 10-foot seated St. Francis and the Birds sculpture, weighing more than a ton, resides on a five-ton Winona travertine base in the St. Francis Courtyard at St. Mary’s Hospital on the Mayo Clinic Campus. St. Francis is portrayed as a strong, sensitive young man surrounded by the birds he is known to have loved. 

Notes: Chuck was commissioned to create this sculpture in 1968 by Sr. Mary Brigh, OSF, then administrator of St. Mary’s Hospital, with contributions from grateful patient, Bernard van der Steen of California. Chuck traveled to Assisi, Italy, to study St. Francis’ life and works, then created the sculpture as a symbol of  hope and peace..

​The model was created in Chuck’s Rochester, Minn., studio, with the final enlargement and bronze casting done in New York City. At its dedication, van der Steen’s widow noted, “St. Francis desired that all creatures be one.” She added that the sculpture was in honor of her husband, with the hope that it would give peace and comfort to others who visit the hospital.


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