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World Religions — "Window Shopping"

wwdwindowAlthough World Religions Day was celebrated campuswide only on September 16, there will be an extended celebration in Falvey Memorial Library. A large window display, “World Religions Day-Religion in the Workplace: Understanding Religious Diversity,” near the library entrance, provides information about the religions of peoples across the globe.

One’s eye is first drawn to the large central image of a girl who looks at the viewer; she stands with her hands pressed together at chest level in what may be a gesture of prayer. Flanking her are various objects and books, and the display is framed on each end by panels with symbols of the various religions. The symbols on the far left within the display represent (from top to bottom) Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Jainism, Hinduism, and Confucianism. On the right side of the display are symbols for Taoism, Bahaism, Native Spirituality, Sikhism, Islam, and Shintoism, as noted in the photograph.

To highlight “Religion in the Workplace,”  Joanne Quinn, the cultural windows designer, used a mixture of religious artifacts, office supplies, books and papers on clipboards (real and pictured) to capture our attention. The display includes a miniature Italo-Byzantine crucifix, large wooden prayer beads, prayer rugs, an amber colored Buddha statue and a large collection of books, such as a Qur’an, Holy Bible, Philosophy of the Bhudda, The Jains, Paganism, Aethism, New Age Movements, and many more, most from the library collection.

Joanne took the explanations of the various religious beliefs, shown on clipboards throughout the display, from How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook, edited by Stuart M, Matlins and Arthur J. Magida. (Note also How to Be a Perfect Stranger: A Guide to Etiquette in Other People’s Religious Ceremonies, edited by Arthur J. Magida, in the reference collection.) Representing the workplace are office supplies, paper clips, a typewriter, a stapler, large tacks and even a large Wawa coffee thermos with paper cups.

Kathy Overturf, associate director of Campus Ministry; Marie Roman, a member of the library Resource Management team; and Kathleen O’Connor, the systems and technology management librarian, loaned objects for the exhibit.

Villanova University’s World Religions Day was founded in 2004 to educate and inform the University community of various religions. This year it is sponsored by Campus Ministry Discipleship Council, Interfaith Coalition, Office of International Student Human Services, Center for Career Services, department of theology and religious studies, Falvey Memorial Library, Office for Mission and Ministry, Center for Peace and Justice, Center for Multicultural Affairs and Human Resources.

by Alice Bampton

The Window Shopping column regularly features the cultural window displays at Falvey’s entrance.

Let us know if you have suggestions for the cultural windows.



  1. Comment by Neil Metha — September 22, 2009 @ 4:53 PM

    Just wanted to let you know that the moon and star do not represent Hinduism.

  2. Comment by Alice Bampton — September 23, 2009 @ 1:06 PM

    Glad you are reading our blogs, Neil. The window shown in the blog is the right side of the display with symbols top to bottom (as noted in the story) are Taoism, Baha’ism, Native Spiritualism, Islam (the moon and star), and partially hidden, Shintoism. The left side of the window is the one with the symbol for Buddhism; this panel is not shown in the blog.

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Last Modified: September 22, 2009

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