Basilica of St. Mary Major – Rome
On 4 November 1950 the Brothers of the Christian Schools, the AIMC and the UCIIM, on the occasion of the proclamation of St John Baptist de La Salle as Patron Saint of Teachers (15 May 1950), offered Pius XII a splendid “Chair”. On it the sculptor L. Venturini had illustrated the theme of Christian education.
At the top is the Pope’s coat of arms and the dove of the Holy Spirit. Below is Christ the Good Shepherd, who came to teach the Truth, which comes to us through the mediation of the Apostles Peter and Paul and the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Further down is the Pope himself who, “ex cathedra“, dispenses the Truth. On the base is the inscription: “Unus est magister vester” (‘one is your master’).
On the side panels are the saints who educated and protected young people: Francis of Assisi and Catherine of Siena, the Patrons of Italy, John Baptist de La Salle, Joseph Calasanz, John Bosco, Bartholomew Capitanio, Contardo Ferrini… and scenes from the Holy Year.
The chair is currently located in the apse of the basilica of St Mary Major.
All this was done on the initiative of Brother Leone Napione, Postulator General FSC and Inspector of Religious Education in Italy.