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Page last updated at 11:18 GMT, Friday, 5 March 2010
Wooden head of Jesus provides link to a past life
The face of Jesus carved from wood
Chris Baxter's father carved this wooden head whilst living as a monk

As part of the BBC-wide project 'A History of the World', BBC Leicester presenters have been telling the stories behind their personal objects.

Chris Baxter shared the history behind his object, a piece of wood carved with the face of Jesus.

The wooden head was made by his father, Peter, during his time as a monk at Mount Saint Bernard Abbey.

Unusually, Peter left the Cistercian monastery and went on to marry and raise a family.

Mount Saint Bernard Abbey was founded in 1835 and has been a site of spiritual contemplation ever since.

The face of Jesus carved from wood
The Cistercian tradition places a strong emphasis partaking in manual work

Its monks follow a life of simplicity, silence, and solitude, balancing their day between prayer and work.

Sadly Peter Baxter died in 1981 when Chris was still young and unable to fully delve into the monastic period of Peter's life, when he was known as Brother Robert.

However he does know that during that time his father made a number of items, including pottery, which were sold in the Abbey shop.

Work has always been held in esteem by the Cistercian tradition. Monks at the Saint Bernard's are still involved in milking cows, making pottery, binding books and beekeeping, amongst other jobs.

Chris said, "It's very precious to my brother, sister and I.

"There's something wonderful about being able to touch the piece of wood, knowing that my father spent time hand-working it."




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