The reconstructed image of the face of Saint Vincent de Paul, in 3D, was presented to the public on February 13 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Penha, in Crato-CE (Brazil). The idea arose in 2015 and, the following year, experts in medicine, technology and dentistry began the reconstruction work from photographs of the skull of the Church’s patron saint of Charity charities, photographs that were taken during the saint’s last exhumation, in 1960.
The architect of the project, the hagiologist José Luiz de Araújo Lira, spoke about the reasons for choosing Saint Vincent de Paul and stated: In the church of the town of Vincent’s birth, there was an image of Saint Vincent before whom we always prayed. It still exists, not on the altar itself, because there was a reform in the church, but the people can still see that image of the saint there. And he always attracted me to the question of charity, to the change that he brought about in the history of the Church when he founded the Daughters of Charity. At that time the convents/monasteries were only cloistered and he opened the convents to the street. The Sisters, the Daughters of Charity began to help the people of the street, the infirm and those in need. I have always had this fascination with Saint Vincent.
Cícero André da Costa Moraes, the 3D designer, stated that one of the distinguishing elements of this project was the fact that it was carried out in a purely digital environment: “we knew that images of medium-resolution allow this type of approach (an approach that can evolve and include artificial intelligence). Photographs of a skull can be taken and those photograph reveals aspects that reveal who said individual was. This process can be very useful where one has available many skulls and where a purely human visualization would be unfeasible. Thus, there has been a great evolution in this context and the participation of all these specialists culminated in the publication of chapter in a book where we explained this process (from its beginning in 2015 to the writing of that chapter).
José Luiz y Cícero stated that the images (photographs from different perspectives) of the skull were sent to eight specialists in the area of medicine and dentistry, mostly specialists in the forensic field, who viewed these photograph without knowing who it was, and identified, from those images, some aspects that allowed for facial reconstruction, (for example: the gender of the individual [male], advanced age, European descent and certain defects, [a defect in the maxilla (upper jaw), and a slight projection of the jaw].