By Lisa Witkowski 

LOUDONVILLE, New York — A set of more than 75 Lladró nativity figurines has been gifted to Siena College by the Franciscan friars. It is being displayed in the Franciscan Commons of Gioia Hall at Siena College until the holiday break. 

The graceful porcelain figurines in muted pastels are gathered around a crèche in the traditional observation the birth of Jesus. 

“Beauty is one of the attributes of God, along with goodness and truth,” said Br. Gregory Gebbia, OFM, Siena’s director of enrollment management strategic partnerships/nursing counselor, who accepted the nativity set on behalf of Siena. “An encounter with beauty is an encounter with God at the deepest level of our humanity.” 

Br. Greg noted that St. Francis of Assisi was very moved by the scene of the Nativity and considered it a celebration of God coming to dwell among us and share our earthly life. In observing the Holy Family, angels, shepherds and others gathered to celebrate the birth of the Savior, Br. Greg said, “Our soul is stirred and the most special part of us is touched and comes alive.” 

A Nativity set gives us “the chance to be amazed by the tremendous love God has shown by coming to us in the humblest of settings, not as a king but as a child,” he said. 

The set was previously in possession of Br. John Capozzi, OFM, the procurator of the Margate City, New Jersey, friary until his recent retirement. He collected the delicate figurines over several years.