Experience of a lifetime for Notre Dame student delivering Papal Icon to Rome

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Summer 20-1-2010

Publisher Name

University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



Jenna Hensby, a second year Nursing student from The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Sydney Campus recently travelled to the Vatican City to return the Icon of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope John Paul II commissioned the vibrant mosaic in 2000 and entrusted it to the Catholic universities of the world. The Icon has travelled to numerous countries and universities for the last nine years and was based at Notre Dame’s Sydney Campus whilst in Australia.

Along with a delegation of four other university students from New South Wales, Jenna led the procession through St Peter’s Basilica for the official presentation and handover of the Icon to African students.

“Representing Notre Dame for such an event was one of the greatest and most honoured experiences of my life, especially when I led the Icon procession through St Peter’s Basilica,” said Jenna.

“I believe Our Lady Seat of Wisdom places value on education and intelligence and is an inspiration to students and lecturers around the world. It helps people strive for the wisdom that comes from being open to searching for the truth.”

Whilst in Rome the delegation also met with other students to discuss the tradition of Catholic university education.

The Icon, a mosaic depicting the Madonna and Child, was made by Slovakian priest Fr Marko Ivan Rupnik SJ. Its tiles are a Byzantine-style mixture of marble and ceramic in red, grey, brown, black, yellow, orange and gold gilt and the reverse is adorned with the seals of the many institutions it has visited across the world.

When presenting the Icon to university students of the world, Pope John Paul II said: "Make the University an environment where knowledge is cultivated, a place where the individual finds direction for the future, wisdom and inspiration for effective service of society."

Media contact:

Moira Saunders
02 8204 4407