The Story of the St. Mary’s University Icon

St. Mary's StarThe icon complementing the name St. Mary’s is based on the letter ‘M’ for Mary.

Simplifying the letter ‘M’ creates the top half of an open book, an appropriate visual reference for an educational institution of higher learning.

Four qualities of Mary (simplicity, clarity, purity and confidence) are each represented by one of the four letter M’s or books.

If these four letters are brought together, toward the centre, they begin to form a simple framework integral to the motto of St. Mary’s: “In your light we shall see light.” (Psalm 36:9)

There are a total of eight points on the four letter M’s. Some theologians refer to Christ’s resurrection as an “eighth day” of creation – Christ was raised from the dead, and a new world was begun. This metaphor speaks of God recreating us in Christ.

With the frame complete, a source of light appears. The space inside this light forms a second source of light – enlightenment within each student.

The many points directed inward and outward imply an exchange of ideas between the University and the world outside. We reach upward as well as outward. The icon is simple, clear, pure and confident. Its dynamic design incorporates another aspect of Mary, who is known as the “Star of the Sea”. The circular arrangement forms a star, a halo of light and strong visual presence well suited to a dynamic, forward-looking institution.

In the typographical arrangement of the word mark, the emphasis is on the name Mary. The letter T is a pedestal that raises the icon’s profile. The light becomes a flame with the letter T acting as the candle. The letter T also forms a simple cross with Mary, symbolized by the star, standing in witness above.

Yellow is the colour of the sun which brings life to all living things. It is also the colour of fire, a single flame burning bright atop a candle.

Blue is the colour of the Virgin Mary. It also represents intellect, peace, contemplation, faith and compassion.

St. Mary’s University is proud to be represented by this illuminating icon.