Get thee to a nunnery. More specifically, get thee to the
Presentation Motherhouse, in Cathedral Square next to the
Catholic Basilica. These words come not from a Danish prince
but from any person who has had the honour of experiencing
St. John’s premier masterpiece.
The Veiled Virgin is to St. John’s what Venus de Milo is to the
Louvre; what la Pieta is to the Vatican. This bust of Mary was
carved in white marble in the mid-1800s by Giovanni Strazza,
an Italian sculptor. No one knows exactly when
Strazza completed this masterpiece and strangely enough,
the statue is not listed among Strazza’a works.
Also no paperwork has survived the purchase of the statue by
Bishop Mullock of St. John’s who presented the bust as a gift in
1862 to the mother superior at Presentation Convent, Mother Mary
 Magdellan de Pazzi, one of the four sisters who came to
Newfoundland from Ireland in 1833.
To further the mystery even more, a second veiled bust of
Mary produced by Strazza has been lost, at least to those
searching on this side of the Atlantic. Separated twins. One not
complete without the other. Can you be the one to unveil the
The statue is signed by Strazza. The fact that it is his work is
not in question. The great mystery is when was the statue
produced, what became of her twin and where did Bishop
Mullock purchase it and from whom? Perhaps Bishop Mullock
had the statue commissioned.

Guide Type: 
Cathedral Square, Military Road
St. John's
Telephone #: 
(709) 753-7291
Attraction Type: