Swiss Guard Coming To Boston … Sort of

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BOSTON – The Swiss Guard, sworn defenders of the Pope, have long been a focus of public fascination, with many tourists in Rome stopping to take a photo with the stoic men in their trademark colorful uniforms. Beginning next week, and continuing into March, Bostonians will have an opportunity to learn more about this unique order of men, the history of their alliance with the Vatican, and their current duties in Rome.

Starting on Saturday in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall, the New England chapter of the Patron of The Arts in The Vatican Museums will host an exhibit titled “The Life of a Swiss Guard:  Private View.” Free to the public, the exhibit will feature paraphernalia of the elite corps, passed down through generations of its members, as well as a display of photographs by Fabio Mantegna.

For weeks, Mantegna immersed himself in the lives of the Swiss Guard. His work reflects his time with them and the moments he captured their lives as young men and soldiers bound by oath to defend the Holy Father.

Photo by Fabio Mantegna, courtesy of NE Patrons of the Arts of Vatican Museums

The Patron of The Arts in The Vatican Museums is a nonprofit interfaith organization that seeks to restore and preserve the collections and buildings in the Vatican Museums. A large percentage of the profits from these museums are used to fund the treasury of Vatican City, thereby leaving little room for its own cherished collections. The dual purpose of the Patron of The Arts is therefore to help raise funds for preservation efforts while also to furthering the understanding and knowledge of the works and history contained within the halls of the Vatican Museums.

Andrea Gabrielle has served as the chairman of the New England chapter of the organization since November 2014. It’s a volunteer position, and an exacting one at that, but Gabrielle says that the mission of the organization is well worth it.

“We are preserving our faith, our story.” Gabrielle told New Boston Post. “If you think of the big picture, you don’t question the effort.”

The exhibit, which opens this Saturday, February 4, is set to run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day until Sunday, March 26. Admission is free, as the event organizers have chosen to raise funds via sponsors and donors rather than admission prices, in order to ensure maximum exposure of the exhibit.

To find more information on the Swiss Guard Exhibit, or to make a donation, click here.