stained glass

Patrons of Archdiocese of Saint Louis - Stained Glass

I recently visited the Church of the Most Sacred Heart in Eureka, MO, and took many photos of the interior (view a full gallery of the pictures I took). The standout photos of the bunch were of the stained glass windows. Below are the three patronal saints of the Archdiocese of St. Louis (depicted on the left side of the Church, when sitting in the main body of the pews).

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne - Stained Glass         St. Louis - Stained Glass         St. Vincent de Paul - Stained Glass

(from left to right: St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, St. Louis IX, King of France, St. Vincent de Paul)

Even though this Church was recently renovated, it has a very strong style of 'noble simplicity' - the Church is of a traditional cruciform layout, but the stained glass is very well made, and most of the liturgical instruments (candle stands, the altar, the tabernacle, etc.) are beautifully restored or newly crafted. The Church even features a beautiful (and functional) pipe organ in the rear choir loft!

Related: Gallery of Photos from Most Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Eureka, MO

Decline in Church Architecture and Art

These images speak for themselves, but I will offer a few asides to help explain why I was saddened after visiting the Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago a few months ago.

Tabernacle - Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago
What... the... I think they might reserve the Body of Christ somewhere in that mess.

Rose Window - Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago
To think that, before the fire, there was probably very beautiful, meaningful and symbolic imagery in that stained glass. Now it's an abstract, and dare I say, boring sight. My eyes grew tired trying to see what was up there.

Pipe Organ - Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago
Amazingly, it seems the beautiful wood ceiling and majestic pipe organ were unharmed by the Cathedral's renovations. However, it seems Spider Man paid a visit to the Cathedral's narthex (the little gathering area in the back with spider webbing).

Sanctuary - Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago
The sanctuary, at first glance looks like it would be able to attract the eyes for a visual treat. However, upon closer inspection, the crucifix is distracting, the stained glass windows are simply a mess (there is seemingly random/patchy colors all over—not even abstract figures), and the altar and sanctuary area is almost completely unadorned.

The general lack of ornamentation in the Cathedral was very disheartening. And what was present was horribly out of place in such a gothic and majestic structure! Some of the best reading I've had on the issue of modern Church renovations and architecture is No Place for God: The Denial of Transcendence in Modern Church Architecture, by Moyra Doorly. This Church should definitely be listed as an exemplar Church for the book!

Merry Christmas!

Stained Glass - Nativity Window, Holy Family, Saint Cecilia Church

Merry Christmas! May you have a blessed day with your family, or with the Holy Family in your heart!

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