Archive for the ‘Stained Glass Windows’ Category
A note from Fr. Lawrence: In 1945, the T. C. Esser Studio of Milwaukee was commissioned by Msgr. Weber to design and make a completely new set of stained glass windows (minus the rose window in the choir loft) for St. Mary’s Church, in time for the 50th Anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone in 1947. The T. C. Esser Company was well-known for their work at St. John’s Cathedral in Milwaukee and St. Joseph Cathedral in Sioux Falls. When the windows were installed, a little booklet was published, The Story of the Windows, in order to assist parishioners in understanding the symbolism found in the windows. Below, please find the preface of the booklet, while the remaining descriptions of each window will be added in the next few weeks.
The Story of the Windows
Preface: In this brief treatise on the new stained glass windows the first point to remember is that the parish church is our spiritual home besides being the House of God. We do whatever we can to make our homes beautiful and attractive, because the most sacred ties we have on earth are centered there. Similarly, the church is sacred, because it is the center of the spiritual life of the family and because God dwells there. That is why the bishops, priests and members of the Church have, through all the ages, made their edifices beautiful and fitting monuments to the God Who dwells in them and to the faith which is in their hearts.
The success of a stained glass window is largely a matter of a proper combination of light and color. The artist in stained glass aims to tame light by the use of color and by the proper combination of both produce something beautiful. The windows in St. Mary’s Church are the of the highest artistry in stained glass, finished on a tapestry background conceived by the French artists in the late 13th or early 14th century.
Our Lord explained the truths of religion in symbols and the early Christians used this sign language. The Church, the great respecter of traditions, continues the use of the early Christian symbols as her universal language, and the story of the windows in St. Mary’s Church is that of the symbols wrought in them.
As members of this parish, this church is your spiritual home. From the cradle to the grave every great spiritual event of your lives is centered in and about it, making it sacred to you. It must, therefore, be a source of pride to you to understand the furnishings of your church. You are proud of the furnishings in your homes, so you should be proud of those in your church home, the home of God and all His children. They are significant of the mysteries which at all times fill God’s house. When you come here let the circle of the symbols of the Church remind you of what God has done for you and of what He wants you to do for yourself.
The windows on the east side of the church portray how, step by step, God brought about the great events which led to the establishment of the Church, His Kingdom on earth. They show how He made available the unending graces of the Redemption. Those on the west side show what we must do in order to avail ourselves of those unending graces. We must use the sacraments for they are the means which God has given us to save ourselves.
Love your parish church. It is the dwelling place of God. It is your spiritual home.