By Wes Cipolla Pilot staff, Originally Published by the Boston Pilot
LOWELL — “Why wouldn’t Christ be born in an igloo?” asks Brother Richard Cote of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. “Why wouldn’t Christ be born in a tipi?”
In his time with the Oblates, who are known for their global missionary work, Brother Richard has found that every culture depicts the Nativity story in a way familiar to it. To the Inuits, Christ would have been born in an igloo. To the Lakota Sioux, Christ would have been born in a tipi. To the Cree First Nations people of Canada, Christ would have been born in a log cabin.
Creches depicting all of these scenes and more are currently on display at the St. Joseph the Worker Shrine in Lowell, staffed by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
“Come to the Stables,” an exhibition of over 70 nativity scenes representing Oblate parishes, Lowell’s Catholic schools past and present, and Oblate missions in 65 countries, can be viewed at the Shrine Museum from now until Epiphany, Jan. 6. The exhibit has taken place every Advent for the last 10 years, and Brother Richard said that each year is different.
“I try to broaden people’s horizons by offering Nativities that are respectful of a particular culture or place,” he said.
Some of the nativities were purchased by Brother Richard, while others were donated. He made the “log cabin nativity,” which represents the Oblate Mission to the Cree.