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Monstrance

Monstrances (from the Latin word monstrare, i.e. to show) are used to present the Most Blessed Sacrament, the consecrated host for veneration. After adoration the priest often gives the "sacramental blessing" with the monstrance.

These valuable exhibition containers were established with the introduction of the Feast of Corpus Christi in the 13th century. On this feast day, the Catholic Church celebrates the presence of Christ in the altar bread. After the celebration of the Eucharist, the Body of Christ in the monstrance is carried through streets and open fields in a procession.

The center of the monstrance is on the front and back sides sheltered with glass. The back glass side can be opened and the host is fixed upon a small golden sickle (Lunula, i.e. little moon). The presented monstrance (Inv.Nr.: StO 1036) has a little angel’s head on its Lunula.

"The Classicism base of the monstrance was crafted between 1775 and 1790. The aureole with discreet rocaille elements (shell-like ornaments, leave and twine ornament decorations), rhinestones and figurative parts of God Father and Holy Spirit dove are supposed to originate from 1760/70.

The thematic content is presented as an "eloquent" object, which was designed to indicate the glory of God with its sun gloriole and the once glittering stones; the figures of God Father and the Holy Spirit together with the host pictured the Holy Trinity, which was present with the Body of Christ in the church room." (Christian Schedler, Mindelheim)

On the bottom of the monstrance base the following inscription can be found: "Lay until January, 1908 in pieces in the wild near Nambuko. Fell in 1895 into the hands of the insurgent pagans (i.e. indigenous unity of the Maji-Maji rebellion) and was repaired by Kaspar Berchtold, Türkenfeld in September, 1908."

Possibly in this renovation the base was re-gilt and the top cross was attached. Afterwards, the monstrance came to Ndanda Abbey, whose territory includes the cited South Tansanian villages. The convent gave the monstrance to the Museum as a permanent loan in 2014.

Today, the Missionsmuseum’s monstrance is presented in the context of the neighbouring objects; it stands for one aspect of Christian mission, for "gathering". Mission is linked with gathering of people in a community, the Church.

In the center of every missionary station and monastery is the church building, where Christians gather for prayer, for divine service and for listening to the Gospel of Christ. This Christian message wants to lead the listener to contemplation, to peace with himself or herself and with mankind.