CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,
Aug. 22, 2003 – Eighth District U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson today presented Southeast Missouri State University officials with a rare antique book recently blessed by Pope John Paul II during a Congressional Delegation visit to the Vatican this summer.
The book, The Rules of the Order, printed in 1658 and published in French, outlines the “rules” or constitution by which the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentian Order) is governed.
Emerson presented the book today to Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, during Media Day activities in the Show Me Center. The book will be housed temporarily in the Rare Book Room in Kent Library. Upon completion of the River Campus, the book will become part of the collections of the Southeast Missouri Regional Museum.
“We would like to express our sincere thanks to Congresswoman Emerson for making this gift to the University,” Dobbins said. “We are particularly pleased to have this historical artifact to exhibit in the museum at the River Campus since the property was founded as St. Vincent’s College and Seminary. Like the seminary, the River Campus and the Southeast Missouri Regional Museum will continue the mission of educating young people for many, many years to come. The Rules of the Order will certainly remind visitors of the history at that site.”
Dr. Stanley Grand, director of the Southeast Missouri Regional Museum, said that having an item blessed by the pope is a wonderful addition to the museum’s collections.
“For those who are believers, it adds a certain aura to the object,” he said. “For those who are not, it is an historical addition to the object. The book, itself, is very important to the history of the region.”