The Stained Glass Windows of The Immaculate Conception Church, Lowell, Massachusetts
This presentation of the Stained Glass Windows of Lowell’s Immaculate Conception Church is based upon the original description of Rev Charles F. Bergstrom, O.M.I.
A PDF version of this presentation can be downloaded here
The Stained Glass windows were designed and executed by Edward W. Heimer & Co. Of Clinton, New Jersey. The windows have as their main theme: in the Sanctuary, the Holy Sacrifice of the Alter, and in the Nave, the Seven Joys and the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVEN SANCTUARY WINDOWS:
These windows were installed in September, 1948. The theme selected was the Holy Eucharist and the symbolical “types” from the Old Testament.
Beginning on the Gospel side we find (Altar Right Side):
- THE SACRIFICE OF CAIN AND ABLE
- Cain offered fruits of the earth, Abel offered of the firstlings of his flock. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and Cain slew Abel. (Gen., Chap 4)
- THE SACRIFICE OF ABRAHAM
- To test Abraham’s obedience, God ordered him to slay his own son and offer him as a holocaust. Abraham, following the instructions, took his son up to a mountain, there made an altar and prepared to slay him. Then an angel said, “Now I know that thou fearest God, and hast not spared they only-begotten son for my sake.” Abraham found a ram which he offered in sacrifice in place of his son. This Old Testament incident is considered as a foreshadowing of the Crucifixion. On Calvary God offered His only-begotten Son as a sacrifice for our sins. (Gen. 22:11-12)
- FEEDING THE FIVE THOUSAND
- Our Lord multiplies the five loaves and two fishes. (Matt. 14:16)
The center window directly over the altar depicts:
- CHRIST BREAKING BREAD IN EMMAUS
- After the resurrection, Jesus joins two of his disciples as they leave Jerusalem and walk along the road to Emmaus. The two disciples recognized our Lord when He took the bread and blessed and broke and began handing it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. (Luke 24:28)
The window to the right of center on the Epistle side depicts:
- MANNA FROM HEAVEN
- When the Israelites complain for lack of food, the Lord provided flesh and manna. The scene shown in the stained glass windows shows them gathering the manna. (Ex. 16:17)
- THE SACRIFICE OF MELCHISEDECH
- Melchisedech, the Priest-King of Salem, brought bread and wine and blessed Abraham who had returned from battle. (Gen. 14:19)
The last Sanctuary window on the Epistle side is:
- MOSES RAISING THE BRAZEN SERPENT
- One of the most important prophetic symbols of the Old Testament was the brazen serpent which Moses lifted up in the wilderness. When the Hebrew people were bitten by serpents in the desert, God ordered Moses to erect the brazen serpent on a cross. Whoever looked on the serpent was healed. (Num. 21:9) Our Lord spoke of this incident as foreshadowing His own Crucifixion: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that those who believe in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.” (John 3:4)
SANCTUARY CLERESTORY WINDOWS (Upper Level):
Sanctuary Clerestory Windows (going from left to right):
- The Phoenix, a widely used symbol of the Resurrection; just as the bird rose from the ashes after being consumed by fire, so our Lord rose from the tomb.
- The Crown, denotes not only our Lord’s kingly office but expresses the fact that we have eternal life through Him, as well.
- Three Fishes—a first century symbol. The Greek word for “fish’ was used as a rebus to spell the initials of “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”
- A Ship, represents the Church, tossed by the stormy waves of persecution, but our Savior is a positive assurance of safety.
On the Epistle side behind the Communion rail is the QUEEN OF IRELAND window.
The center figure is the B. V. M. With the Christ Child holding a rosary. On the left side is St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, holding a shamrock in his left hand. He used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. By his feet is a snake, reminding us of the legend when St Patrick drove out the snakes from Ireland. On the right side is St. Bridget, who received her veil from St. Patrick. Encouraged by her example, other ladies joined; and soon the first convent was erected and St. Bridget became superior. Her reputation for sanctity became widely known and, after a long and fruitful life, she died an Abbess on February 1, 523.
In the circular top shape we find the scene of St. Patrick Baptizing the King of Tara, whom he converted together with many other kings and princes. Tara was the principal seat of the Druids and pagan rites. In the bottom medallion, the Apparition of Our Lady of Knock is depicted. The account of this apparition reads: “The blessed Virgin was clothed in white garments, wearing a large brilliant crown; her hands were raised as if in prayer and her eyes were turned heavenward. On her right was St. Joseph and on the left stood St. John, the Evangelist, vested as a Bishop. To the left was an altar on which stood a cross and a lamb.” This all happened in the quiet village of Knock, County of May, on the 21st Day of August 1879.
The three-panel window on the Transept wall in the Sanctuary is devoted to:
OUR LADY OF THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT. The central figure depicts Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The Madonna is holding the Christ Child, who, in turns, holds a chalice with the Blessed sacrament. This center group is flanked by two adoring angels. The lower medallion in the center panel depicts St John giving Communion to the Blessed Virgin. The ornamental part consists of a rich grape border, and in the cruciform appears the passion flower. This flower contains the symbols of the Passion. The central column represents the columns of the Scourging. The ovary is shaped like the hammer used to drive the nails. The three styles, each with a roughly rounded head, are the nails. There are five stamens, symbolical of the five wounds. The rays within the flower form a nimbus, symbolical of our Lord’s divine glory. The leaf is shaped like the spear which pierced His heart. The ten petals represent the ten apostles who forsook Him and fled, leaving only St. John, who followed Him and stood beside His cross, and Judas. The flower is said to bloom but three days, representing the time which our Lord lay in the tomb. The quatrefoil in the extreme top has the figure of St. Tarcisius, the first martyr for the Holy Eucharist. IN the trefoils on each side are the monogram of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the P X, the symbol of Christ. In the lower part of the side panels we find the following: On the left the Three Fishes, one of the earliest symbols. Each letter of the Greek word “fish” was regarded as the initial of a word in the sentence meaning “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” The Crown and Scepter denote our Lord’s kingly office. This symbol appears in the right lower panel.
The four-panel window on the Transept wall, Gospel side, is devoted to:
The window over the side altar on the Gospel side contains the symbols of the Four Evangelists. The symbols most frequently used for the Four Evangelists are the winged creatures; namely the winged man, the winged lion, the winged calf and the eagle. The figures are described as follows:
- The winged man signified the human nature of our Lord Jesus , and because St. Matthew lays stress upon the Incarnation of the Son of God, this symbol is given to him.
- The winged lion represents His royal character, since the lion is the king of beasts. The winged lion is attributed to St. Mark because that inspired writer speaks of the grace of our Lord.
- The winged calf testifies as to the sacerdotal nature of our Lord, for the calf is the emblem of sacrifice. This emblem is associated with St. Luke because of the simplicity and earnestness with which he described the sacerdotal office and the death of our Lord.
- The flying eagle represents the grace of the Holy Spirit which was ever upon the Savior. The eagle symbolizes St. John, who speaks of the divine nature of our Savior and His Kingly office.
TRANSEPT CLERESTORY WINDOWS (Upper Level):
Transept Clerestory windows (going from left to right):
- Hand of God—God the Father in Heaven.
- B. V. M. Monogram with crown symbolizes the Queen of Heaven.
- Lilies—a symbol of Purity.
- Moon & Stars—a symbol of the Virgin Mother, whose glory is borrowed from the Sun of Righteousness, our Lord, as the moon is reflected from the sun.
- Crib & Orb—symbolizing our Savior’s birth.
- Globe with snake—a symbol of the fall of man and the B. V. M. “The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent.”
- Scale and Sword—symbol of justice.
- Throne of God.
THE ROSE WINDOWS
The individual panes of the Rose Windows are called out according to the pattern below.
The Epistle Side (East Side) Rose Window:
The Center Window is that of the Immaculate Conception. This is a classic presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is the picture chosen by the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, DC, to represent the Mary as the Immaculate Conception. (http://www.nationalshrine.com/NAT_SHRINE/index.shtml)
1. Isaias—Isaiah wrote of the Virgin. The Church holds that the Mother of Jesus is likewise the Virgin mentioned by Isaiah, who will conceive a Son called Emmanuel (Is 7:14) (See also Mt 1:22-23) Isaiah is also cited in showing that Jesus is of the line of King David, the root of Jesse (Isaiah 6,14; 11,1; 53,2).
2. Ezechiel—Ezechiel is remembered for his promise of salvation.
3. Pope Alexander VII—Born Fabio Chigi, at Sienna, in Italy, on 13 February 1599. He was elected Pope on 7 April 1655 and died at Rome 22 May 1667. Alexander VII promulgated on 8 December 1661, the famous constitution “Sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum”, defining the true sense of the word conception, and forbidding all further discussion against the common and pious sentiment of the Church. He declared that the immunity of Mary from original sin in the first moment of the creation of her soul and its infusion into the body was the object of the feast (Densinger, 1100). (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm)
4. St Pius X—Pontiff from 1903 to 1914, succeeding Pope Leo the XIII. Known for his devotion to Mary.
5. Saint Joachim—Father of The Blessed Virgin Mary
6. Pope Pius XII—In the light of a long history of Christian belief since patristic times, in 1950, Pope Pius XII defined Mary’s Assumption into Heaven as a dogma of Roman Catholicism. The proclamation of this dogma is found in the encyclical: Munificentissimus Deus, which states in part: “We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.” (http://www.udayton.edu/mary/meditations/assmp01.html)
7. Saint Anne—Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8. Pope Leo XIII—Pope Leo, who was Pontiff from 1878 to 1903, had a deep love of Mary and encouraged the praying of the Rosary. Leo XIII, on 30 November 1879, raised the feast to a double of the first class with a vigil. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm)
9. Pope Sixtus IV—Pope until 1484. Wrote a work on the Immaculate Conception. By a Decree of 28 February 1476, Pope Sixtus IV at last adopted the feast of the Immaculate Conception for the entire Latin Church. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm)
10. Duns Scotus—Blessed John Duns Scotus, Scottish Franciscan and theologian was a professor and prolific writer. He died 1308 in Cologne. Duns Scotus laid the foundations of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception so solidly and dispelled the objections in a manner so satisfactory, that from that time onward the doctrine prevailed. He showed that the sanctification after animation—sanctificatio post animationem—demanded that it should follow in the order of nature (naturae) not of time (temporis); he removed the great difficulty of St. Thomas showing that, so far from being excluded from redemption, the Blessed Virgin obtained of her Divine Son the greatest of redemptions through the mystery of her preservation from all sin. From the time of Scotus not only did the doctrine (of the Immaculate Conception) become the common opinion at the universities, but the feast spread widely to those countries where it had not been previously adopted. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm)
11. Jeremias—Jeremiah is remembered for his prophetic word.
12. Pope Pius IX—In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm)
The Gospel Side (West Side) Rose Window:
The Center Window is Our Lady of Hope. The first shrine bearing that title was erected at Mezieres, in the year 930. The Litany of Our Lady of Hope can be found on the Internet at—http://www.udayton.edu/mary/prayers/litpray01.html#two
- Salus Populi Roman—Protectress of the Roman People. The miraculous image, Protectress of the Roman People, is perhaps the best loved and honored Marian icon in Rome, Italy. It is located in the Cappella Paolina of Saint Mary Major Basilica in Rome, known to English-speaking pilgrims as Lady Chapel. The church, Saint Mary Major, is considered the third of the Roman patriarchal basilicas. The church and its Marian shrine are under the special patronage of the popes. (http://www.udayton.edu/mary/meditations/saluspr.html)
- Our Lady of the Rosary—While Jesus is the focus of the Rosary, it revolves around those mysteries that touched Our Lady’s life.
- Our Lady of Perpetual Help—The picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour is painted on wood, with background of gold. It is Byzantine in style and is supposed to have been painted in the thirteenth century. It represents the Mother of God holding the Divine Child while the Archangels Michael and Gabriel present before Him the instruments of His Passion. Over the figures in the picture are some Greek letters which form the abbreviated words Mother of God, Jesus Christ, Archangel Michael, and Archangel Gabriel respectively. It was brought to Rome towards the end of the fifteenth century by a pious merchant, who, dying there, ordered by his will that the picture should be exposed in a church for public veneration. It was exposed in the church of San Matteo, Via Merulana, between St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. Crowds flocked to this church, and for nearly three hundred years many graces were obtained through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11699b.htm)
- Out Lady of Good Counsel—Records dating from the reign of Paul II (1464-71) relate that the picture of Our Lady, at first called “La Madonna del Paradiso” and now better known as “Madonna del Buon Consiglio”, appeared at Genazzano, a town about twenty-five miles southeast of Rome, on St. Mark’s Day, 25 April, 1467, in the old church of Santa Maria, which had been under the care of Augustinians since 1356. The venerated icon itself, which is drawn on a thin scale of wall-plaster little thicker than a visiting- card, was observed to hand suspended in the air without the slightest apparent support; thus early tradition, which furthermore tells how one might have passed a thread around the image without touching it. At once devotion to Our Lady in Santa Maria sprang up; pilgrim-bands began to resort thither; while miracles in ever-increasing numbers, of which a register was opened two days after the event, were wrought, as they still continue to be, at the shrine. Leo XIII (21 Dec., 1893) sanctioned the use of the White Scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel for the faithful. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11361a.htm)
- Our Lady of Guadalupe—The Blessed Virgin appeared to a fifty five years old neophyte, Juan Diego, who was hurrying down Tepeyac hill to hear Mass in Mexico City. It was Saturday, 9 December, 1531. The Blessed Virgin sent him to Bishop Zumárraga to have a temple built where she stood. She was at the same place that evening and Sunday evening to get the bishop’s answer. The Bishop had not immediately believed
the messenger; having cross-questioned him and had him watched, he finally bade him ask a sign of the lady who said she was the mother of the true God. Juan Diego agreed, but was occupied all Monday with Bernardino, an uncle, who seemed dying of fever. At daybreak on Tuesday, 12 December, the grieved nephew was running to the St. James’s convent for a priest. To avoid the apparition and untimely message to the bishop, he slipped round where the well chapel now stands. But the Blessed Virgin crossed down to meet him and said: “What road is this thou takest son?” Reassuring Juan about his uncle whom at that instant she cured, appearing to him also and calling herself Holy Mary of Guadalupe, she bade him go again to the bishop. Without hesitating he asked the sign. She told him to go up to the rocks and gather roses. He knew it was neither the time nor the place for roses, but he went and found them. Gathering many into the lap of his tilma a long cloak or wrapper used by Mexican Indians he came back. The Holy Mother, rearranging the roses, bade him keep them untouched and unseen till he reached the bishop. Having got to the presence of Zumárraga, Juan offered the sign. As he unfolded his cloak the roses fell out, and he was startled to see the bishop and his attendants kneeling before him: the life size figure of the Virgin Mother, just as he had described her, was glowing on the poor tilma. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07043a.htm)
- Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal—The devotion commonly known as that of the Miraculous Medal owes its origin to Zoe Labore, a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, known in religion as Sister Catherine [subsequently canonized], to whom the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared three separate times in the year 1830, at the mother-house, in Paris. The first of these apparitions occurred 18 July, the second 27 November, and the third a short time later. On the second occasion, Sister Catherine records that the Blessed Virgin appeared as if standing on a globe, and bearing a globe in her hands. As if from rings set with precious stones dazzling rays of light were emitted from her fingers. These, she said, were symbols of the graces which would be bestowed on all who asked for them. Sister Catherine adds that around the figure appeared an oval frame bearing in golden letters the words “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee”; on the back appeared the letter M, surmounted by a cross, with a crossbar beneath it, and under all the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the former surrounded by a crown of thorns, and the latter pierced by a sword. At the second and third of these visions a command was given to have a medal struck after the model revealed, and a promise of great graces was made to those who wear it when blessed. After careful investigation, approval was given and, on 30 June, 1832, the first medals were struck and with their distribution the devotion spread rapidly. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10115a.htm)
- Our Lady of La Salette—Over 150 years ago, on September 19, 1846, that Our Lady Mary appeared to two small children on the mountain of LaSalette in the French Alps. There, she gave them a message for the world to hear and follow. It was the first Marian apparition of modern times, outside of a cloistered religious environment, to attract widespread attention, and to be “recognized” by Roman Catholic authorities. There is a shrine to Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro, Massachusetts. (http://www.lasalette.com/)
- Our Lady of Lourdes—In 1858, in the grotto of Massabielle, near Lourdes in southern France, Our Lady appeared 18 times to Bernadette Soubirous, a young peasant girl. She revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception, asked that a chapel be built on the site of the vision, and told the girl to drink from a fountain in the grotto. No fountain was to be seen, but when Bernadette dug at a spot designated by the apparition, a spring began to flow. The water from this still flowing spring has shown remarkable healing power, though it contains no curative property that science can identify. Lourdes has become the most famous modern shrine of Our Lady. (http://www.catholic.org/mary/lourdes1.html)
- Our Lady of Knock—On the 21st of August 1879, Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of Knock Parish Church. The apparition was witnessed by fifteen people, young and old. From this miraculous occurrence Knock has grown to the status of an internationally recognized Marian Shrine. The personal pilgrimage of Pope John Paul II in 1979, commemorating the centenary of the apparition, inspired an even greater devotion to the Shrine and endorsed the indelible seal of Vatican approval. (http://www.knock-shrine.ie/)
- Our Lady of Fatima—The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared six times to three shepherd children (“the Three Seers”) near the town of Fatima, Portugal, between May 13th and October 13th 1917. Appearing to the children, the Blessed Virgin told them that she had been sent by God with a message for every man, woman and child living in that century. Coming at a time when civilization was torn assunder by war (the First World War) and bloody violence, she promised that Heaven would grant peace to all the world if her requests for prayer, reparation and consecration were heard and obeyed. The three children were Lucy Dos Santos, Francisco Marto and Jacinta Marto. (http://www.fatima.org/story1.html)
- Our Lady of Beauraing—On the 29th of November 1932, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to five children of the village of Beauraing, Belgium. There were 33 appearances in all. The message of Our Lady of Beauraing was that she wanted people to gather at the spot of the appearances and to pray. The prayer was their own decision, but she wanted them to pray. (http://saint-mike.org/Links/Beauraing.html)
- Our Lady of Banneux— In the winter of 1933, in Banneux, Belgium, 56 miles east of Beauraing, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a young girl named Mariette Beco. The apparitions began just two weeks after the apparitions in Beauraing ended. Marietta, 11, had eight apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the final one on March 2, 1933. Our Lady told Mariette Beco to “Pray a lot” and that she wanted a little chapel at Banneux. Many miraculous healings occurred at a spring near Mariette’s home. (http://home.talkcity.com/WooHooWay/angi667/banneux.html)
THE EPISTLE SIDE OF THE NAVE
The Three-panel window in the Epistle Transept depicts the first of the seven joys of the B. V. M.
THE ANNUNCIATION. The three panels are combined into one group. In the center the B. V. M. Is kneeling looking up to Gabriel who spoke, (Luke 1:26) “Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee, Blessed art thou among women.” And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to thy word.” In the circular shape on top, St. Dominic receiving the Rosary is shown. In the bottom medallion Our Lady of Fatima is depicted, where the B. V. M. Gave us, through three children, this principal motivation, “”The conversion of sinners and the return of souls to God,” and the direct words, “Do not offend Our Lord anymore; he is already much offended.” (Luke Chapter 1)
The next window in the transept facing the front of the church is the second joy:
THE VISITATION. This window depicts the scene when the B. V. M. Visited Elizabeth at the house of Zachary, “And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of they womb.’” (Luke 1:41) The quatrefoil above the three panels shows St. Vincent de Paul, friend of the poor, rescuing a founding. Founder of the Vincentian order and the Daughters of Charity, he lived from 1580 to 1660. ON the bottom of the center panel a medallion depicts the Miraculous Medal, the third apparition of the B. V. M. To St. Catherine Laboure, November 27, 1830, when the B. V. B. Said: “These rays are the symbols of the graces which I bestow on those who ask for them.”
Proceeding toward the front of the church, the first window after the transept is:
THE NATIVITY and ADORATION. In this window, two of the seven joys of the B. V. M. Are combined. “Now when Jesus was born, in Bethlehem…behold Magi come from the East…and falling down they worshipped him.” (Matt. 2:9) In the left panel are the three Kings with their offerings, and on the right the Shepherds with their gifts. Below this Nativity scene the text is “This Day is Born to you a Savior.” Below the main scene is The Little Flower. In the top quatrefoil is the Infant of Prague. The symbols in this window are, in the top row on the left, the Star of Bethlehem with the guiding rays, the orb with the cross symbolizing Christ the King, and on the right side, the rose, referring to the prophesy of Isaiah, “The desert shall blossom as the rose at the coming of the Kingdom of Righteousness.” Below the main scene on the left is the world encircled by the serpent symbolizing the Immaculate Conception. On the right is the Blessed Virgin Mary’s monogram. Across the bottom beginning at the left are, Lilies for Purity, the “Chi-Rho,” the most ancient abbreviation of the word “Christ,” in the center and on the right side the bursting Pomegranate, the symbol of the power of our Lord who was able to burst the tomb on Easter Day and come forth alive.
The next window going toward the front door depicts:
THE FINDING IN THE TEMPLE (The fifth joyful mystery). “It came to pass after three days that they found Him in the temple, in the midst of the teachers, listening tot them and asking them questions…and He said to them, ‘How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?’” (Luke 2:49) In the quartrefoil is St Rose of Lima, the first canonized Saint of the New World, who dies in 1617. IN the bottom part of the center panel is Our Lady of Lourdes. (Luke Chapter 2)
THE ASSUMPTION OF THE B. V. M., solemnly defined as a dogma by Pius XII, November 1, 1950, depicts the taking of the incorrupt body of Mary up into Heaven after her death, where her body was reunited to her soul. IN the top shape is St. Peter at the gate of Heaven holding the two keys. Christ said, “I will give thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt. 16:19) IN the center panel in the lower center, Pius XII announcing the Dogma of the Assumption.
The window before the balcony on the Epistle side is:
THE CORONATION OF THE B. V. M., depicting the reception of Mary into heaven after her Assumption, and the crowning making her Queen of Heaven. In the top circle is a portrait of Saint Eugene De Mazenod, Bishop of Marseilles and Founder of the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate; a devout advocate of Mary’s Immaculate Conception in the solemn definition of which he took an active part. (1854) In the lower medallion, we see the Oblates at work on Hudson Bay.
Apparition of our Lord to His Mother and the Resurrection. (The seventh joy.)
THE GOSPEL SIDE IN THE NAVE
On the Gospel Side the Seven Sorrows are depicted. The first window in the Transept to the left of the large Rose window will be the first Sorrow:
SIMEON’S PROPHESY. “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:35)
THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT. “Told by an angel in a dream that Herod sought to destroy Jesus, Joseph arose and took the child and His mother by night, and withdrew into Egypt.” (Matt 2:14)
JESUS LOST IN JERUSALEM. The meditation contained in the Novena in honor of the Seven Sorrows reads: “Who can describe Mary’s sorrow when, returning from Jerusalem, she missed her divine Son?” With St. Joseph she retraced her steps in anxious search of Him whom her soul loved. She went to all her relatives and acquaintances in Jerusalem, but herd no tidings of her lost Child. Of it Origen writes: “on account of the ineffable love of Mary for her divine Son, she suffered more by His loss than the martyrs suffered amid the most cruel tortures.” The inscription in the center panel directly under this main subject is, “They sought Him Sorrowing.” Below the main scene which extends over the three panels is St. John Bosco teaching a boy. In the top quatrefoil, the figure of St. Catherine of Alexandria, who saw a vision of the Blessed Version Mary who asked her son to receive her among His servants, but the Divine Infant turned away. After Baptism, Catherine saw the same vision, and Jesus Christ received her with great affection, and espoused her before the court of heaven. St. Catherine suffered just as the Blessed Virgin Mary and was martyred after many torments. The symbols in this window all pertain to the main subject. Beginning in the top left panel is the carpenter square and “J” for St. Joseph. The anchor for Hope is in the center and the Blessing Hand of God the Father is on the right side. Below the large medallion, on the left are lilies, the symbol of Purity, and on the right side, lilies of the valley for meekness. Across the bottom, on the left is St. Mary’s crown with five stars; in the center the moon and the stars and on the right the flowering branch with the five petal rose, the five letters “Maria” and the budding rose.
The next window going toward the choir is:
CARRYING THE CROSS. “…And bearing the cross for Himself, He went forth to the place called Galgotha, where they crucified Him.” (John 19:16) Mary’s fourth sorrow: She meets Jesus carrying His cross. Torn by the cruel scourging, crowned with thorns, and covered with blood, He proceeds on His way to Calvary, and in this pitiful condition meets His blessed Mother. The inscription below this scene is, “Thy own soul a sword shall pierce.” In the top circle St. Martin of Tours is handing an almost naked beggar part of his cloak and was rewarded by a vision of Our Lord. In the bottom of the center panel is St. Joan of Arc and King Charles VII whom she helped to be crowned in Rheims.
The next window has, as the main subject, Mary’s fifth sorrow:
BENEATH THE CROSS. Another great sorrow befell the heart of Mary when she withdrew her tearful gaze form the face of Jesus and cast her weeping eyes upon the cold and indifferent world that lay in darkness around and about Calvary. And yet, “When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and the disciple standing by, whom He loved, He said to his Mother, “Woman, behold thy son.” After that he saith to the disciple, “Behold they Mother.” (John 19:26) Directly below in the center panel is the inscription “At the Cross her Station Keeping.” In the top circle is St. Thomas More and in the bottom Medallion, St. Catherine Takakwitha, the Lily of he Mohawks, being baptized by Father Lamberville on Easter Sunday, 1676.
The next window near the choir balcony depicts the sixth sorrow:
TAKING DOWN OF JESUS’ BODY. Joseph of Arimathea got permission from Pilate to claim the body of Jesus. While taking His Body down from the Cross, it was placed in the arms of his Mother. In the quatrefoil above is St. Clare holding the Monstrance. While Abbess in Santa Croce, she repulsed an attack by the Saracens by holding the Holy Eucharist in front of them. The bottom medallion depicts St. Francis of Assisi receiving the Stigmata.
THE BURIAL. “And Joseph, taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new monument, which he had hewed out in a rock. (Matt. 27:59)
The stained glass windows in the choir contain a wealth of symbolism and religious beauty. The four-panel window in the middle has as the dominant motive he figures of our Lord and the Immaculate Conception. The figure of the B. V. M. Is crushing the snake with the apple in its fangs with one foot, and standing on the moon with the other. The snake represents the original sin, and the crescent moon refers to the Virgin Mother whose glory is reflected from the Sun of Righteousness, Jesus Christ, as the light of the moon is reflected from the sun. The figure of our Lord represents the King of Kings, indicated by the crown. The sheaf of wheat in His left hand symbolizes His supreme sacrifice and the Holy Eucharist. He is standing on a globe with stars, representing the universe. The rainbow refers to God’s promise to Noah and also to the coming of the last judgment.
Directly above the two central figures are two angels, whose six wings classify them as seraphim as described in Isaiah 6:2. On each side of Christ the King and the Queen of Heave are two angels holding a cross and a shield with the monogram of the B. V. M. respectively. All five letters of “Maria” are represented. IN the lower part of the four-panel window outstanding events in the life of the Blessed Virgin are depicted. Beginning on the left is the Annunciation, next the Nativity, then the Presentation in the Temple, and on the right the first miracle and first public appearance of our Lord, the Wedding Feast in Cana. In the tracery crowning this window we find the symbols of the four evangelists surrounding the Eye of God. In the left quatrefoil is the Chi Rho symbol, the most ancient of our Lord’s monograms. It is the abbreviation of the word “Christ” in ancient Greek uncials. In the quatrefoil on the right is the five-petal mystic rose, again representing the five letters in Maria.
The two windows flanking the four-panel window just described are devoted to church music. On the left is the figure of St. Cecilia, patroness of church music, holding a small organ. In the opposite window is the figure of King David, who in his early years played the hard for troubled Saul. His skill in music is recorded in 1 Kings 16:18 and Amos 6:5. His poems and compositions are in the Book of Psalms. He not only was a king and ruler; he was also a prophet. Above the two side windows are two angels holding ribbons bearing the inscriptions “Te Deum” and “Laudamus.”