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A national traveling exhibition at Laupus Library will focus on paintings related to healing and faith. (Contributed photo)

Laupus Library hosts national exhibition of devotional paintings on healing and faith

By Crystal Baity
GREENVILLE (08/20/2010) — East Carolina University’s Laupus Library is hosting a national traveling exhibition of devotional paintings centered on illness, healing and faith from August 30 through Nov. 6.

“Everyday Miracles: Medical Imagery in Ex-Votos” portray the expression of an individual’s relationship with illness as illustrated in ex-votos, devotional paintings that give thanks to a saint or deity for a miraculous healing or blessing.

The poster exhibit of the ex-votos provides illustrations of how healing and faith have played a role in the lives of the faithful, and how prayer has been used to invoke the aid of saints as a means to heal the sick and end one’s suffering.

Ex-votos began in the 15th century in Italy and spread throughout the world, playing a role in the daily lives of the faithful especially in Mexico. They continued to be a popular expression of faith and healing in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the most prolific period of ex-voto production. While declining in the 20th century, artists still create them today. Most remain a personalized expression of thanks for a restoration of health, but have expanded to include the commemoration of a special event or to address a concern in an individual’s life.

Laupus Library is the first in North Carolina to host the exhibit, developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine. For more information, go to

The exhibit is located on the library’s fourth floor in the Evelyn Fike Laupus Gallery and is open during normal hours, posted at  or call 252-744-2219. Metered parking is available in front of the library.

Individuals with disabilities requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the Department for Disability Support Services at (252) 328-6799 (V) or (252) 328-0899 (TTY).


Related article:  A new study by ECU professor Susie Harris links faith and ability to cope with diabetes.

This story appeared originally in the Aug. 27, 2010 issue of Pieces of Eight. An archived version of that issue is available at