Western Perspective III
Five at 3.25' w. by 6.5' h. each.
Memorial Chapel Windows (side)
Two at 1.9' w. by 5.9' h. each.
Memorial Chapel Window (Triangular)
12.1' w. by 5.1' h.
Three at 1.7' w. by 3.8' h. each.
When this gem of a church was rebuilt after the Tornado of ’38, dim amber windows were installed in the Nave. Seventy-five years later those windows and more were replaced with bright new ones AND my approach to stained glass broadened.
I first heard about St. Joseph Catholic Church from its Deacon Villa several years ago at a liturgical conference in Utah. More recently, while working on the Windows for St. Ann’s New Chapel with Monsignor Larry Droll, he reminded me about nearby St. Joseph Catholic Church. I had been hesitant about contacting St. Joseph because I was unsure contemporary stained glass would be a good fit. Finally Monsignor Droll’s confidence and the enthusiasm of everyone at St. Joseph convinced me to reconsider. As I thought about this historic little church, I realized that here was a perfect opportunity to take a different direction with my art.
St. Joseph is a picturesque country church that was built in the late 1800‘s and rebuilt in 1938 after being leveled by a tornado. At the pre-design meeting the Parish Council explained that they wanted to brighten the worship space by replacing the old, dark, yellowish Nave windows. They also asked for a light, airy, contemporary approach. As a result the stained glass at St. Joseph now provides lots of light and views while also exploring traditional imagery within the context of my previous work.
Arched-top Romanesque borders visually unify the widely-spaced windows in the Nave, Memorial Chapel and Choir. New window frames increase the window area, while a palette of bright, transparent colors maximize light entering the church. The light, airy glass palette draws in more light than the old, murky amber glass. In addition to the pale transparent tints, you’ll also notice filmy opals and milky opaks in the figures and borders that pull light into the Nave even on cloudy days when the transparent glasses are not as bright.
ST. JOSEPH: JESUS’ EARTHLY FATHER (Nave): This window greets worshipers entering the church and window proclaims this to be ST. JOSEPH’s Catholic Church. The carpenter’s square represents earthly knowledge Joseph is imparting to Jesus while a larger square above reminds us of God the Father’s central role in Christ’s (and our) growth in mind, body and spirit.
THE HISTORY WINDOW: FOUNDING AND CONTINUITY (Nave): The History Window also welcomes parishioners as they enter. On the left we see Reverend P. Anastasuis Peters who founded this parish on August 15, 1881 with four Carmelite monks at Grelton, (Marienfield/1885; Stanton/1890). The Tornado of ’38 that destroyed the church swirling chaotically in the lower sections. A roof peak represents both the destroyed building and the new church and its Cross rises triumphantly into the calm upper window. A rainbow and prism are reminders of God’s reassuring presence, even in times of need. Look in the lower right corner and you’ll find a piece of the old, dim amber glass that was rescued from the rubble after the Tornado of ’38.
THE ANNUNCIATION WINDOW (Joyful Mystery; Nave): The Holy Mother is seen facing the Angel, Gabriel, as he appears before her to announce God’s special plans for Mary and all of humanity.
THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY (Glorious Mystery; Nave): The Holy Mother rises on a rose-like cloud of French mouthblown glass to heaven. Her eyes are cast toward God while her hands beckon us to follow.
THE HOLY SPIRIT WINDOW (Nave): As a reassuring symbol of the Holy Spirit and Baptism, the Dove descends into our midst from Heaven. Opal glass adds an ethereal quality that changes with the hours, days and seasons.
O HOLY NIGHT – NATIVITY WINDOW (Joyful Mystery; Memorial Chapel): Mary, the baby Jesus and Joseph embrace under the Star of the Nativity.
IF IT BE THY WILL – AGONY IN THE GARDEN (Sorrowful Mystery; Memorial Chapel): Christ prays for guidance and puts his faith in his Father in Heaven as the Crucifixion nears.
ASCENSION WINDOW (Glorious Mystery; Memorial Chapel): Christ rises to Heaven. Delicate opal glass adds an ethereal, spiritual quality to the figure.
HE HAS RISEN! – RESURRECTION WINDOW (Glorious Mystery; Choir): With the stone rolled way, the Angel proclaims Christ’s Resurrection to the world on Easter morning.
Wow! You are not only a wonderful artist, but you are a good communicator! You have the Holy Spirit who is there constantly giving you new inspiration. It was indeed a joy to be with you and the community of St. Joseph’s Church in Stanton to ask God’s divine blessing upon your precious artwork. Yes, it was a community project, and God selected the right master to make this project turn out so well. God’s peace. Your brother in Christ and Mary,
Most Rev. Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI; Bishop of San Angelo
Materials: German, Polish & French mouthblown glass, dichroic glass, prisms, lead and solder.