Stained Glass Windows
Stained glass is a particularly Christian and Catholic art form. It developed from the technology for glass in the early Middle Ages. Stained glass is an image of God’s work in us. We are fragments of fragile material stained with sin, but he puts us together into a beautiful work of art and as his light shines through us we proclaim his goodness, truth and beauty in the world.
Stained Glass in the North Aisle
The five windows on the North aisle show scenes from the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary-appropriate scenes for a church dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary.
The guide begins at the West End (nearest the narthex when facing the altar).
First Window North Side
In the first window, we see St. Joachim and St. Anne — the parents of the Blessed Virgin — meeting one another. This is a discreet way of portraying the Immaculate Conception, the belief that Mary was conceived in the natural way, but by a direct act of God preserved from the stain of original sin.
Below that we see the birth of the Blessed Virgin.
This window was donated by the Howard family.
Second Window North Side
The second window portrays the Blessed Virgin being presented in the Temple. This story comes from an extra biblical writing from the early second century called The Protoevangelium of James. Originating from the early Christians in Jerusalem, this book relates the events of Mary’s birth and childhood.
Below we see Mary’s betrothal to St. Joseph. The tradition is that St. Joseph was an older man who was engaged to Mary as a way of “adopting” her into his extended family. This was the custom at the time, and a way for orphan girls to be cared for.
This window was a gift of the Bever family.
Third Window North Side
The top scene in the third window is the Annunciation of the birth of Christ to the Blessed Virgin by the Angel Gabriel.
Below that we see the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin to her cousin St. Elizabeth-the mother of John the Baptist. This window is a gift of the Cannon family.
Fourth Window North Side
In the fourth window we see a charming scene of the Holy Family in the carpenter shop in Nazareth.
Below this is the Dormition or Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin. The apostles are gathered around her to witness the end of her earthly life.
This window a gift of the Bennett family.
Fifth Window North Side
The fifth window shows the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. When her earthly life was over, like the prophet Elijah, she was taken up body and soul into heaven. Above that is a scene showing her being crowned as the Queen of Heaven.
Heaven is Christ’s kingdom. It was the Jewish custom that the mother of the King was the Queen of the kingdom. If Jesus is the King of Heaven it follows that his mother is the Queen.
This window is a gift of the Cannon family.
Stained Glass in the South Aisle
The windows on the South aisle of the church were donated by various parishioners from St. Mary Morning Star in Pittsfield Massachusetts. They therefore show the loyalties of some of the Catholics of that day.
First Window South Side
The first window (closest to the altar) must have been sponsored by some Irish Catholics because it portrays the great apostle of Ireland, St. Patrick, and in the lower scene is St. Bridget-an abbess and minister to the poor.
This was a gift of the O’Brien family.
Second Window South Side
The top scene portrays St. Michael the Archangel defeating Satan. The devil’s bright red color and monstrous face is especially effective!
Below that we see an unusual scene–St. Thomas preaching to the people of India. Because of this unusual subject matter we can guess that some Indian Catholics who had emigrated to the USA and lived in the parish of St. Mary Morning Star must have contributed this window.
Third Window South Side
In another unusual set of scenes we see St. Peter being given the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven by Jesus, and below that is St. Paul preaching to the Greeks in Athens.
These scenes show the Catholic church’s foundation upon the lives and preaching of these two great apostles.
This window a gift from the McAfee family.
Fourth Window South Side
The top scene shows Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist and the lower scene the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume.
The scenes complement one another: the woman atoning for her sins by washing Jesus’ feet and Jesus the Lamb of God receiving that washing, and the washing of baptism to identify with our own need for cleansing.
This window is a gift of the Torres family.
Fifth Window South Side
The top scene portrays the Adoration of the Magi at the birth of Jesus. This event is celebrated each year at the Feast of Epiphany.
The bottom scene shows the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt to escape the decree of Herod the Great that all the little boys under the age of two should be slain.
This window was donated by the Degres family.
North-side Upper Windows
The range of windows at the clerestory (upper) level portray on the North side scenes from the Old Testament and on the South side scenes from the gospels.
The First and Second Days of Creation.
God creates light and separates the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.
The Third and Fourth Day of Creation.
The earth brings forth all vegetation and the sun, moon and stars are created. God gives abundant life and provides the channels of his light in the created order.
The Fifth and Sixth Days of Creation.
God creates all the creatures of the sea and air and then all the creatures of dry land–animals and man.
The Sabbath and God Curses the Serpent.
On the seventh day God rests from his creation and blesses all things by declaring them “Good.” God curses the serpent who has tempted Adam and Eve.
The Expulsion from Eden and Cain Slays Abel.
Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden. Sin enters the world and their son Cain kills his brother Abel.
Moses Before Pharaoh and the Bronze Serpent.
Moses’ staff turns into a snake before Pharaoh’s magicians, and in the wilderness the people look to the bronze serpent to be delivered from an attack of poisonous snakes. This is a pointer to Jesus being lifted up for our salvation from evil.
Joshua and the Battle of Jericho and Elijah.
Joshua leads the army of the Hebrews to defeat the fortress city of Jericho as they enter the promised land. The prophet Elijah, living in the wilderness is sustained by God.
Elisha Raises the Widow’s Son and Daniel in Lion’s Den.
The prophet Elisha miraculously raised the son of a widow from death and Daniel courageously endured being thrown to the lions. The first story prefigures the miracles of Jesus and the second the sufferings of the first Christians.
South-side Upper Windows
The windows at the upper level of the South side portray scenes from the life of Christ – from his birth to the Last Supper.
The Nativity of Jesus and the boy Jesus in the Temple.
The two main incidents from Jesus’ early life show his birth in Bethlehem and his teaching the elders at the age of twelve. These windows are gifts of the Jerebak Family and the Menegay Family.
The Wedding at Cana in Galilee and The Feeding of the 5,000.
The first story portrays God’s blessing on the sacrament of marriage and the second prefigures the Eucharist. These windows are gifts of the Cannon Family and the Kleger Family.
Jesus Healing the leper and healing the paralyzed man.
Christ heals our souls diseased and paralyzed by sin and selfishness.
Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter and the widow’s son.
In raising the dead Jesus foreshadows his own victory over death and the grave. These windows are gifts of the Peabody Family and the Yatkin Family.
Jesus heals the man with a withered arm and heals the blind man.
Christ’s healing gives us spiritual sight and strength, saving us from our blind and crippled state. A gift of the Minder Family.
The miraculous draft of fish and the cure of the Gadarene demoniac.
Jesus helps the fishermen with their catch and casts a demon into the swine. So Christ makes us fishers of men and takes authority over evil in our lives. These windows are gifts of the Menegay Family and the McClear Family.
Jesus Walking on the Water and Jesus Calming the Storm
The Last Supper and the Raising of Lazarus
Jesus establishes the Eucharist at the Last Supper and foreshadows his resurrection as he raises his friend Lazarus from the dead. A gift of the Ninness Family.
From the gospel square one gets the best view of the Rose window in the West wall of the church. This window was also reclaimed from the Church of St. Mary Morning Star and it portrays the mysteries of the Holy Rosary–a very appropriate find for the new Church of Our Lady of the Rosary.
The Rose window is a gift of the Counihan Family.
Fr. Longenecker relates the story of the stained glass windows: “I was not in favor of having stained glass windows for our new church. I thought it would be too expensive. But the members of the building committee were adamant. They wanted stained glass windows. I explained that the windows had to be the right size and shape and most of all, had to be in the style of the early Middle Ages–to fit the Romanesque style of the church. We found exactly the right windows on the website of King Richard’s Church Design–a company that specializes in church salvage and restoration. The ten nave windows seemed right. Then we saw the 32 upper level windows. They were also a perfect fit, but when we saw the Rose Window with scenes from the Holy Rosary we knew this was what we should do and I was converted to the idea of having stained glass windows for our new church.”
About the Artist
The artist who designed and made the stained glass windows was Wilbur Burnham. He traveled to Europe to not only study the ancient stained glass windows, but also to study how the glass was made and how the windows were built.
The windows replicate the stained glass of the early medieval period. They do this in two ways. First, the style of artwork is from this period. The stylized poses and elongated figures are typical of Christian art from this period. The earliest Christian art are the icons from the East. They have similarly elongated figures and stylized gestures. Burnham was being consistent in his artistic style with the Romanesque period. The stained windows of this period also feature the large expanse of window being broken down into smaller vignettes or scenes. By having two smaller scenes in each window Burnham was also echoing this ancient style of window.