This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stained glass at St. Mary's (1)

A few Sundays ago I wrote a second post about St. Mary's Church in Beaverville, IL. This Sunday we will look at some of its impressive stained glass windows.
The church building is on the National Register of Historic Places. (In Rensselaer, the court house, Carnegie building, and Drexel Hall are on the list.)
Entering the main doors leads to a small, unimpressive vestibule. Another set of doors leads to the nave or main part of the church. Two angels hold the holy water fonts.
Most of the space inside is below the huge dome of the church. The picture below shows interior of the church from near the altar area looking back towards the entrance. You can see a large organ in the choir loft next to the rose window. You might also be able to make out the angel water fonts.
There is some literature available for visitors, including a pamphlet explaining the stained glass windows. They are centered on the life of Mary. The exact source of the windows is unknown, but the best guess of those who have studied them is that they were made in Chicago, with a strong suspicion that they came from studio of Lascelles and Shroeder. (A google search turns up nothing about this studio.) From the brochure:
An uncommon feature of St. Mary's windows is their elaborate use of opalescent glass. Based on formulas developed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and John La Farge, the glass was readily available from the Kokomo Indian Glass Works. The glass at St. Mary's is masterfully matched for color and texture.
The windows tell the story of Mary, starting from the back of the church and going to the front. The first is the Presentation of Mary.
The second is the marriage of Mary and Joseph. The source for this scene is Luke 1:28-38. (If you click on these pictures, you will get a larger version that shows the details better. I took the pictures, and they are not what a professional photographer would have been able to get.)
The Annunciation, the angel Gabriel telling Mary that she would be the mother of Christ, is a familiar topic in religious art.
The Nativity with shepherds shows a familiar Christmas scene. Each window has a dedication on the bottom, giving the name of a donor or donors who contributed for the window.
The fifth window shows the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, based on Luke 2:34-35.The Finding Jesus in the Temple shows the story told in Luke 2 43-52.

Another post will continue show the rest of the windows in this series.

A window that is not in the Life of Mary series is the large rose window which faces west. Each of the twelve roundels have six roses, while the twelve radiating windows have white lilies. The center round window has a chalice.
Today (9-13-09) St. Mary's is having a festival to raise funds to raise funds for building restoration.

(Part two is here.)


Laura said...

Very nice windows. Thanks for posting them. I wish you the best of luck on your restoration project.

Laura Goff Parham
State of the Art, Inc
Stained Glass Studio

Garfield said...

If you've ever been inside this building then you know it has some of the coolest church stained glass windows out there. It's pretty incredible.