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Stained Glass Windows


St. Mary's Church contains an exceptional set of stained glass windows which depict the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  An uncommon feature of these windows is their elaborate use of opalescent glass. This glass is masterfully matched for color and texture.  The high level of compositional skill using the opalescent glass and the paintings depicted in St. Mary's windows is rare to the Midwest.  They are a hybrid between the Munich style made famous by Mayer, Zettle and TGA and the finest American craftmanship represented by Tiffany Studios of New York.  These windows are so very important because only a small number of this hybrid have survived in this quality and quantity.





 Entering the church, the narrative of the windows begins on the right with the Presentation of Mary. Feast day November 21.  The child Mary, all in white and wearing a wreath of roses on her very long hair is presented to the rabbi in the Temple.  Ann and Joachim look on.  The Temple has a luxuriously rendered interior, including Hebrew inscription. The drapery behind the rabbi is of very high quality and rare mottled glass.  Five red centered flowers burst from the Renaissance styled rosette on the arch on the top.

 Across from it to the left of the entrance is the Marriage of Mary and Joseph.  The scene has its source in St. Luke’s gospel 1:26-38. Mary kneels on the left and holds out her right hand for Joseph to place the ring.  Joseph kneels on the right holding a staff that has turned into a flowering stem of white lilies.  The officiating rabbi, giving a priestly blessing, stands in the center.  His beard is magnificently rendered and gives him a God like appearance.  The marriage is blessed in heaven.  The Jewish Star marks a window to the rabbi’s right.  The interior is Renaissance inspired.

Next is the Annunciation (March 25).  Based on Luke 1: 30-31. It is one of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. This is a Nazarene inspired composition based on the angel’s announcement:  “Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.”   The messenger angel arrives on a cloud and is rendered in magnificent colors of drapery and feathered glass.  Mary, in white and blue, is interrupted while kneeling in prayer and is bathed in light by the appearance of the Dove of Christ in the upper left circular window.  A potted rose flowers red on the left.r you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.

Across the room is the Nativity to the Shepherds, a heavily painted, dark composition with the source of illumination being the Christ child.  This is also a Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.   Luke 2:7 narrates that Mary gave birth to her first born Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn. 'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.

Next and on the same side is the Presentation, based on Luke 2:34-35. The rabbi holds the Child while Mary and Joseph stand to the right.  Joseph is holding the official temple offering of two doves.  To the right an old woman looks on.  Two children crawl into the scene from the viewer’s position.

Continuing on the right side is The Finding of Jesus in the Temple  also known as Child Jesus in Temple, after Luke 2: 42- 52.  It too is a Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.  In the narration, Jesus is twelve years old and Mary and Joseph find Him in the Temple when he is “lost” on the way back from Passover in Jerusalem.  Jesus stands in the center with his right hand raised while looking to the left.  On his right stand one of the elders, hand to his chin in thought.  Entering the elaborate temple structure are Mary and Joseph.

Now the narrative chronology breaks in that we return to the left side to see the Death of Joseph.   It is not known when Joseph died, but it was before the crucifixion of Jesus.  Joseph reclines on a bed, his hand raised in acceptance of the blessing of his Son who stands before him on the right.  Mary stands behind the bed.  The room is grand and a fertile landscape is seen through the window.  An angel holding a crown hovers above.

Next on the left is Christ Blessing the Children (Mark 9:36-37, Luke 18:15-17 and Matthew 19:13-15).  The bouquet of flowers one of the children holds is very well painted.  The woman standing before Jesus is probably Mary, judging from her look.  The male saint stands behind her, maybe a youthful apostle.  The background landscape is carefully composed with a winding road to give the composition greater depth, like a Garden of Eden.

The large transept window on the left is next.  It depicts Christ Carrying the Cross, probably based on Luke 23: 26-31.  It is one of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.  “They took Jesus and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place of the skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha.”

The next window depicts the Deposition, and probably follows John 19: 31-42.  The event occurs just after the Crucifixion.    

On the other side, the other large transept window continues the story with one of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, the Assumption of the Virgin. Based on Thessalonian 4:14.  Mary has been placed in her sarcophagus and while all the Apostles are gathered around, she rises to heaven in a glorious burst of sunrays and clouds.  Flowers fill her sarcophagus.  Above in the central roundel, an angel awaits with a crown prefiguring another of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary: The Coronation of the Virgin which follows Revelations 12:1, which tells us that a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars.  The artists used cold-painted effects throughout to achieve this most glorious effect.  The mountains left and right are painted.

The next window depicts Mary as the Queen of Heaven holding the Christ Child holding a scapular.  The scapular is a garment worn over the head and shoulders, which cover the chest and back reaching almost to the feet. Lay people wear its abbreviated version depicted here.  It consists of two small pieces of cloth connected by two long cords.  There are eighteen different scapulars that have been approved for popular devotion.   Below are two figures in Purgatory.  An angel on the left draws a youthful female all in white up towards the Queen of Heaven, while on the right a sorrowful man is told by his angel he must stay a while. tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.

The last window on the left side is Mary with St. Dominic receiving the Rosary celebrated on October 7, and is known as the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary.  St. Dominic is traditionally believed to have initiated the use of the rosary.great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.

The last window on the right side is Our Lady of Lourdes celebrated on February 11, the day the visions at the grotto near the town of Lourdes, France to Bernadette Soubirous began in 1858. On March 25 the vision proclaimed, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”  Bernadette eventually offered herself to the sisters of Notre Dame de Nevers.  She died April 16, 1879; she was 35 years old.    Bernadette kneels at the edge of a small brook before a statuesque image of Mary standing within a grotto in a ring of roses holding a Rosary.

In the choir loft above the entrance of the church is a large rose window. Each of the twelve roundels is filled with six red roses.  Lilies fill the other radiating windows.  The lilies could represent purity while the roundels could represent apostles.  The thirteenth roundel, the center, could be Christ as a chalice; the grapes, wine and blood; and on the left; the host, the wheat, bread and body on the right.

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