Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Is there really a 300-year-old créche in Bethlehem?



A Connecticut Christmas: Celebrating the Holiday in Classic New Style

Photo Caryn B. Davis

When it comes to Christmas, few traditions are as sacred as celebrating the crèche—the nativity scene where Jesus was born in a Bethlehem manger. From setting up ceramic figurines on living room tables, to illuminating life-sized tableaus or larger-than-life inflatables on front yards, families have long loved to recreate the story of Jesus’ birth.

But there is one crèche that outdoes them all, sequestered in a simple white barn down a quiet dirt path some 6,000 miles away from Jesus’ birthplace—in another Bethlehem, here in Litchfield County. It belongs to the Abbey of Regina Laudis—the 400-acre home of 37 Benedictine nuns—and, unlike some cloistered parts of the property, is open to visitors, almost year-round.

“It really is exquisite, on so many levels,” says Mother Angéle Arbib, of the lavish 300-year-old display that’s been dubbed “the Rembrandt of crèches” by experts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “We want everyone to share in this experience, to behold this magnificence.”

Met conservators conducted a four-year restoration of the Neapolitan nativity scene that was given as a coronation gift to Victor Amadeus II, King of Sardinia, in 1720. Philanthropist Loretta Hines Howard obtained the collection and gave it to the Abbey in 1949.

Fiber optic lighting illuminates details of the life-like figures made of carved wood, terra cotta, jute and porcelain. The rosy-cheeked Mary holds the baby Jesus as the Three Kings, wearing colorful silks with gold embroidery, offer gifts in the hills of Naples, which is where the crèche’s original artists were from. “In December, we get thousands of visitors,” Mother Angele says. “They go to the local post office so they can get a “Bethlehem” postmark on their Christmas cards, then they come here. It’s tradition.” 

Add your comment:

Connect With Us    

Sign-up for our event 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

December 2017

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Want to see the tallest Christmas tree in Connecticut?  Then taking a visit to Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce featuring a 100 foot tall Christmas tree is a must! Join in the fun with a...

Cost: Adult $15.99, Children (4-10) & Seniors $11.99, Children 3 & under – FREE

Where:
Lake Compounce Theme Park
186 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

December 1st - December 30th The show opens with a reception on Saturday, December 2nd from 11AM to 4PM.  The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Gunn Historical Museum’s Washington History Club in the Morning will meet at the Washington Senior Center on Monday, December 18 at 10am. The topic of discussion will be Christmas...

Cost: free

Where:
The Washington Senior Center
6 Bryan Hall Plaza
Washington, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: GUNN HISTORICAL MUSEUM
Telephone: 860-868-7756
Contact Name: STEPHEN BARTKUS
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Want to see the tallest Christmas tree in Connecticut?  Then taking a visit to Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce featuring a 100 foot tall Christmas tree is a must! Join in the fun with a...

Cost: Adult $15.99, Children (4-10) & Seniors $11.99, Children 3 & under – FREE

Where:
Lake Compounce Theme Park
186 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Landmark Community Theatre holds auditions for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at the Thomaston Opera House. Contact: Jeffrey Dunn, Executive Director Administrative: (860) 283-8558 Box Office:  (860)...

Cost: Free

Where:
Arts Center Theatre
158 Main St.
Level 2
Thomaston, CT  06787
View map »


Sponsor: Landmark Community Theatre
Telephone: 860-283-8558
Contact Name: Jeffrey Dunn
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Want to see the tallest Christmas tree in Connecticut?  Then taking a visit to Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce featuring a 100 foot tall Christmas tree is a must! Join in the fun with a...

Cost: Adult $15.99, Children (4-10) & Seniors $11.99, Children 3 & under – FREE

Where:
Lake Compounce Theme Park
186 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Want to see the tallest Christmas tree in Connecticut?  Then taking a visit to Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce featuring a 100 foot tall Christmas tree is a must! Join in the fun with a...

Cost: Adult $15.99, Children (4-10) & Seniors $11.99, Children 3 & under – FREE

Where:
Lake Compounce Theme Park
186 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Landmark Community Theatre holds auditions for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at the Thomaston Opera House. Contact: Jeffrey Dunn, Executive Director Administrative: (860) 283-8558 Box Office:  (860)...

Cost: Free

Where:
Arts Center Theatre
158 Main St.
Level 2
Thomaston, CT  06787
View map »


Sponsor: Landmark Community Theatre
Telephone: 860-283-8558
Contact Name: Jeffrey Dunn
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Want to see the tallest Christmas tree in Connecticut?  Then taking a visit to Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce featuring a 100 foot tall Christmas tree is a must! Join in the fun with a...

Cost: Adult $15.99, Children (4-10) & Seniors $11.99, Children 3 & under – FREE

Where:
Lake Compounce Theme Park
186 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

December 1st - December 30th The show opens with a reception on Saturday, December 2nd from 11AM to 4PM.  The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Want to see the tallest Christmas tree in Connecticut?  Then taking a visit to Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce featuring a 100 foot tall Christmas tree is a must! Join in the fun with a...

Cost: Adult $15.99, Children (4-10) & Seniors $11.99, Children 3 & under – FREE

Where:
Lake Compounce Theme Park
186 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

December 1st - December 30th The show opens with a reception on Saturday, December 2nd from 11AM to 4PM.  The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join Jim Moore and Dan Antonucci on 12/23/17 at Litchfield Community Center from 12-5pm. Original prints and drawings and handmade woodworking products will be on display and available just in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Rd.
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Jim Moore
Telephone: 631-624-3908
Contact Name: Jim Moore
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Deyber Master Artist from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Robert Deyber is an American artist...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

In the summer of 1972 Jason rode a motorcycle from Connecticut to California, with stops in most of the Western States. The beauty he experienced on this trip ignited a lifelong passion for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Byrde + the b is pleased to announce the opening of Jivan Wolf master jeweler from 4-7 pm on Saturday December 2, 2017 and runs through Jan 31, 2018. Jivan Wolf hand fabricates jewelry...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Want to see the tallest Christmas tree in Connecticut?  Then taking a visit to Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce featuring a 100 foot tall Christmas tree is a must! Join in the fun with a...

Cost: Adult $15.99, Children (4-10) & Seniors $11.99, Children 3 & under – FREE

Where:
Lake Compounce Theme Park
186 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

December 1st - December 30th The show opens with a reception on Saturday, December 2nd from 11AM to 4PM.  The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Ski Do

Sky’s the limit, hitting the slopes, faster and faster

Designer’s Touch

Gift shopping with Philip Gorrivan

Christmas Without a Tree

But every bit as Merry and Joyful

Enchanting Ensemble

The Sherman Ensemble raises the bar and our spirits

Woof, Sizzle, Hike

Seasonal Books about Dogs, Cooking and Nearby Nature
Edit ModuleShow Tags