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Please be patient; photos may take a moment or two to download.

January 2011.  About a year after Father Ryan commissions the new shrine, sculptor John Sisko presents his proposal.  He first experiments with the idea of creating a triptych in low relief (above) but realizes a statue will be more suitable.

Sisko envisions placing the image of John in a transparent structure suggestive of the window and balcony from which the Holy Father blesses the people.

Father Ryan and the team wanted the shrine to capture the joy and welcome of this great Pope of modern times. Sisko's playful style is the perfect fit.

Once he has the go ahead, Sisko immediately begins work on the full size image, which will stand about 4'6" (smaller than life size). 

The artist surrounds himself with images--both photos and drawings--of Good Pope John for inspiration.

July 2011.  The image in its early stages is roughed in in clay.

February 2012.  While Sisko is at work on the sculpture itself, Stephen Lee works on bringing Sisko's vision to life, while dealing with the challenges of an installation in the north aisle of the Cathedral.  A life-size mockup is created out of plywood and cardboard to help the team envision the shrine in the space.

September, 2011.  The statue is beginning to take its final shape.

February, 2012.  The design team visits Sisko's studio to sign off on the final image in clay.

March, 2012.  A new image in wax is created from a mold of the clay image. This is the image from which the bronze statue is cast.

September, 2012. The statue is cast in New Mexico and treated with a patina to give it its light coloring.  Here Father Ryan and the team view the finished statue for the first time.

The framework is gilt by hand with 23 karat gold by master gilder Eric Leggett.

The bronze image--weighing 300 pounds--is placed in the north aisle by a team from Lease Crutcher Lewis.

Architect Stephen Lee puts the finishing touches on the shrine.

As artist John Sisko said in his remarks at the unveiling of the new shrine, in the end, many hands contributed to the completed work.


John Sisko, Sculptor
Stephen Lee, Architect
Joseph Woods, CAD Design
Lease Crutcher Lewis, General Contractor
Swenson, Say, Faget, Structural Engineer
Lambert Stone, Marble contractor
NW Etch, Stainless steel background panel
Diamond Machine Works, Bronze candle holders
Lighting Supply Inc., Light Fixtures
Sequoyah Electric, Electrical Contractor
Eric Leggett, Millennium Gold Leaf Studio

Cathedral Planning Team

Very Reverend Michael G. Ryan, Pastor
Larry Brouse, Pastoral Assistant for Administration
James Savage, Director of Music
Corinna Laughlin, Director of Liturgy
Maria Laughlin, Director of Development


Return to St. James Cathedral Parish Website

804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303