Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Redemptorist Catholic Church

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Redemptorist Catholic Church

3333 Broadway Kansas City, Missouri 64111

www. redemptoristkc.org

Parish office (816) 561-3771 


This beautiful and impressive church has twenty-nine very large stained-glass windows around the altar and along both sides of the nave.There are 22 additional smaller stained-glass windows featuring stylized angels in the clerestory.

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I had great difficulty getting photographs of some of the windows on the days I visited this church. In some cases, very little light was coming through or shadows were blocking out important parts of the window imagery. I intend to return and hope to be able to improve some of these images. I hope you enjoy what I am able to present here. Often you will see a large image of the entire window (or most of it) and one or two more detailed images from these beautiful and inspired stained-glass creations.

Some History of the Redemptorist Church

In 1878 missionary Redemptorist priests settled between the frontier towns of Westport and Kansas City and, after building a mission house for the Redemptorist priests, brothers, and seminarians, they traveled throughout the newly settled towns of the Midwest preaching sermons.  Neighboring Catholics soon began worshiping with the priests and brothers at the mission house chapel, and in 1888 the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was established. Local people were so accustomed to calling their chapel Redemptorist, that the popular name has prevailed even to the present day.

Within a few years the congregation outgrew the missionary chapel.


Our Lady of Perpetual Help (detail)

In 1893 the parishioners built a Gothic style church seating 400 people. Within fifteen years that church could not accommodate the influx of people settling between Westport and Kansas City, and the architecture firm of Wilder and Wight was hired to design a much larger French Gothic church. Ground was broken for the new church on June 21, 1908, and the Church was dedicated on May 12, 1912.

Stained-Glass Windows in Redemptorist Church

The original Sanctuary windows, depicting various Marian themes, were installed in 1915. Between 1925 and 1828 twenty more Bavarian Memorial art glass windows were placed in the nave and two in the clerestory above the transept altars.  These windows were created by the Emil Frei Fine Art Glass Company of Munich and St. Louis. The angel windows that line the rest of the clerestory were added in the 1940’s and were also created by the Emil Frei Fine Art Glass Company of St. Louis. (For more about the Emil Frei Fine Art Glass Company, follow the link to their informative web site.)

The Clerestory Windows over the Sanctuary

  1. Crowning of Mary, Queen of Saints & Angels 
  2. The three Marys at the foot of the cross
  3. The Wedding feast of Cana
  4. Our Lady of Perpetual Help
  5. Adoration of the Magi
  6. Annunciation of the Birth of Christ
  7. Adam and Eve before the Lord after their sin



Crowning of Mary, Queen of Angels and Saints


Crowning of Mary, Queen of Angels and Saints

Christ, accompanied by God the Father and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, places a crown on the head of Mary as the Queen of Heaven. (Rev 12:1) The Crowning of Mary is the fifth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary and is celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church every August 22.





Three Marys at the Foot of the Cross




The Three Marys at the Foot of the Cross

Scriptural sources are a bit confusing regarding the identities of the Three Marys at the Foot of the Cross. John (19:25) identifies them as Mary, Jesus’ mother; Mary Magdalene, who was healed by Jesus, then supported His ministry, and was the first person to see Him after His resurrection; and Mary the wife of Clopas (Cleophas), who was the sister of Jesus’ mother (and the mother of James the less and Joses). The Crucifixion (Matt 27:33-56) is the fifth Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary.



The Wedding Feast of Cana



The Wedding Feast of Cana

The transformation of water into wine at the Wedding Feast of Cana is the first miracle attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John. (John 2:1-12) In the Gospel account, Jesus, his mother and his disciples are invited to a wedding, and when the wine runs out, Jesus delivers a sign of his glory by turning water into wine.



Our Lady of Perpetual Help





Our Lady of Perpetual Help

In the center of this window we see the Blessed Virgin Mary as represented in a celebrated 15th-century Byzantine icon that has been in Rome since 1499, and is permanently enshrined in the church of Saint’ Alfonso di Liguori. The Redemptorist Priests, were appointed as both custodians and missionaries of this icon by Pope Pius IX in 1865.

Here, as in the miraculous icon, the Virgin Mary, under the title “Mother of God,” holds the Child Jesus. The Archangels Michael and Gabriel, hovering on either side of them, hold the instruments of the Passion. St. Michael (on the left) holds the spear, the wine-soaked sponge, and the crown of thorns. St. Gabriel (on the right) holds the cross and the nails. The Child Jesus seeks comfort from His mother as He sees the instruments of His passion.  Surrounding the central image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help are angels.


Byzantine Icon– Our Lady of Perpetual Help



Adoration of the Magi


Adoration of the Magi

Three Magi, represented as kings, having found Jesus by following a star, lay before him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and worship him.  (Matthew 2:1-22)

The arrival of the Magi is an important part of the Nativity narrative and is celebrated as the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th. The Birth of Jesus is the third Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.






Annunciation of the Birth of Christ




The angel Gabriel  announces to the Virgin Mary that she will conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, marking his Incarnation. The angel Gabriel says Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you…  Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. (Luke 1:26-38) The Annunciation is the first Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.




Adam and Eve after the Fall




Adam and Eve before the Lord after Their Sin

Adam and Eve, having eaten from the tree of knowledge which God had forbidden, became ashamed of their nakedness. Subsequently, God banishes them from the Garden of Eden, condemning Adam to work in order to get what he needs to live, and Eve to giving birth in pain. (Gen 3:1-21)






South Side –Lower Windows (Starting at St. Alphonsus Altar)

  1. Redemptorist Saints: St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Clement Hofbauer, and St. Gerard Majella
  2. The Visitation
  3. Wedding of Mary and Joseph
  4. Consecration of Mary to the Lord
  5. Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple
  6. Last Supper
  7. Transfiguration
  8. Temptation in the Desert
  9. Sermon on the Mount
  10. Baptism of Jesus


Redemptorist Saints—St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Clement Hofbauer, and St. Gerard Majella


Redemptorist Saints

This window represents the Redemptorist Saints at the time the window was created. (A later window featuring St. John Neumann is located over the west entrance. In 1977 Neumann was the first U.S. Bishop and second U.S. citizen to be canonized.) At the left, an angel holds St. Alphonsus’ metre as the bishop kneels before the monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament. To the right are two other Redemptorist saints, St. Clement Hofbauer and St. Gerard Majella. At the top of the window, two angels carry Our Lady of Perpetual Help as a gift from heaven to the Redemptorists.

They that explain me shall have everlasting life. Eccl. 25:31


Redemptorist Saints (detail from Emil Frei)


The Visitation


The Visitation


The Visitation is the visit of Mary to Elizabeth as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. (Luke 1:39–56.) Mary was pregnant with Jesus and Elizabeth with John the Baptist. John, still in the womb, became aware of the presence of Christ and leapt for joy. Elizabeth, recognizing the presence of Jesus. said, “Blessed [art] thou among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of thy womb.” In response to Elizabeth, Mary proclaimed the Magnificat (My soul doth magnify the Lord). The Visitation is the second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. The Magnificat is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn.



To my Father Timothy O’Hearn





The Visitation (detail)


Wedding of Mary and Joseph


Wedding of Mary and Joseph

Joseph, with his flowering staff, and the Virgin Mary stand in the Temple before the high priest. According to The Golden Legend, several men besides Joseph wanted Mary’s hand in marriage. Each was instructed to place a staff on an altar. The staff that Joseph brought miraculously burst into leaf, a sign that he was God’s choice to be Mary’s husband. For Joseph, this wedding is more than just the taking of a wife: it is an act of protection for Mary and her unborn Child. Just as Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is honored by Catholics as the Mother of the Church, so St. Joseph, the Guardian of Jesus, is honored as the Church’s Protector. His feast is celebrated on March 19.

I will espouse thee to me in Justice Osee (Hosea) 2:19 [Hosea 2:21]


Wedding of Mary and Joseph (detail)


Wedding of Mary and Joseph (detail)


Wedding of Mary and Joseph (detail)


Consecration of Mary to the Lord


Consecration of Mary to the Lord

As a fair olive tree in the plain and as a plain by the water in the street was I exalted. Ecc. 24:19 [Book of Sirach 24:14]


Consecration of Mary to the Lord (detail)


Presentation of Child Jesus in the Temple


Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple

Mary and Joseph took the Infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth to complete Mary’s ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn son. (Luke 2:22–40) They encountered Simeon, who  had been promised that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Simeon then uttered the prayer that would become known as the Nunc Dimittis, which prophesied the redemption of the world by Jesus . The elderly prophetess Anna was also in the Temple, and offered prayers and praise to God for Jesus, speaking of His importance to redemption in Jerusalem. Anna may be the woman standing next to Joseph in this window. The Presentation is the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.

And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse. Isiah 11:1


Presentation (detail)





Presentation (detail)






The Last Supper


Last Supper

The Last Supper is the final meal that Jesus shared with his Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist in which Jesus takes bread, breaks it, and gives it to the Apostles, saying  “This is my body given to you.” The Gospel of John does not include this episode, but tells of Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles, giving the new commandment “to love one another as I have loved you.”  During the meal Jesus predicts his betrayal by one of the Apostles present, and foretells that before the next morning, Peter will deny knowing him. The institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper is the fifth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary.

Take ye and eat. This is my body. Matt 16:20

            In memory of Mary E. Curry Parsons


Last Supper (detail)


The Transfiguration


The Transfiguration

The Transfiguration of Jesus recalls the moment when Jesus is transfigured  in radiant glory upon a mountain. (Matthew 17:1–8, Mark 9:2–8, Luke 9:28–36) Jesus and three of his apostles, Peter, James, John, have gone  to a mountain to pray when Jesus begins to shine with bright rays of light. Then the prophets Moses and Elijah appear next to him and he speaks with them. Jesus is then called “Son” by a voice in the sky, assumed to be God the Father, as in the Baptism of Jesus. The Transfiguration acts as a further revelation of the identity of Jesus as the Son of God to some of his disciples. It is a pivotal moment where human nature meets God: the meeting place for the temporal and the eternal, with Jesus himself as the connecting point, acting as the bridge between heaven and earth. The Transfiguration not only supports the identity of Jesus as the Son of God  but, identifies him as the messenger and mouth-piece of God. The Transfiguration is the fourth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary.

This is my beloved son. Hear ye Him. Matth 17:6

In memory of Mary E. Curry Parsons


The Transfiguration (detail)

The Sermon on the Mount


The Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount is found in the Gospel of Matthew (Chapters 5, 6, and 7) and is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus which emphasizes his moral teaching. It takes place relatively early in his ministry, after he has been baptized by John the Baptist and preached in Galilee. It includes some of the best known teachings of Jesus, such as the Beatitudes, and the widely recited Lord’s Prayer. The Sermon on the Mount is generally considered to contain the central tenets of Christian discipleship.

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Matth 5:3

            In memory of Mary E. Curry Parsons



Sermon on the Mount (detail)


Temptation in the Desert


Temptation in the Desert

The Temptation of Christ in the Desert is detailed in the Gospels of Matthew,  Mark and Luke. After being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus fasted for forty days and nights in the Judaean Desert. During this time, Satan appeared to Jesus and tried to tempt him. (Make bread out of stones to relieve his hunger; Jump from a pinnacle and rely on angels to break his fall; Worship the devil in return for all the kingdoms of the world.) Then Jesus said Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matthew 4:10) Having refused each temptation, the Devil then departed, and Jesus returned to Galilee to begin his ministry. In this window we see Jesus banishing Satan and we see the angels who have come to minister to him.

Thou shalt adore the Lord, Thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. Luke 4:8

            In memory of Mary E. Curry Parsons


Temptation in the Desert (detail)


The Baptism of Jesus

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Baptism of Jesus

The Baptism of Jesus,  described in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, is one of the five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Jesus, the others being the Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension. It is generally considered as the start of his ministry.  In this scene, John the Baptist is baptizing Jesus and the Holy Spirit is descending as a dove from heaven. A voice is heard with the words Behold this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.(Matthew 3:13–17; Mark 1:9–11; Luke 3:21–23) The Baptism of Jesus is the first Luminous Mystery of the Rosary.

In memory of Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Zahner and Family

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Baptism of Jesus (detail)


Clerestory Window over OLPH Altar

Sorrowful Mother (Mater Dolorosa)


Sorrowful Mother (Mater Dolorosa)

Our Lady of Sorrows is one of the names by which the Virgin Mary is referred to in relation to sorrows in her life. As Mater Dolorosa, it is also a key subject for Marian art in the Catholic Church. The Seven Sorrows of Mary are a popular Roman Catholic devotion. In common religious Catholic imagery, the Virgin Mary is portrayed in a sorrowful and lacrimating affect, with seven long knives or daggers piercing her heart. Devotional prayers elaborate on Seven Sorrows (Dolors) in her life.  These are: The Prophecy of Simeon. (Luke 2:34–35); The Escape and Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13); The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:43–45); The Meeting of Mary and Jesus on the Via Dolorosa; The Crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Calvary. (John 19:25); The Piercing of the Side of Jesus with a spear, and His Descent from the Cross. (Matthew 27:57–59); and The Burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea. (John 19:40–42).


Sorrowful Mother (Mater Dolorosa)

Window above the West Entry of the Church: St. John Neumann, Fourth Redemptorist Saint


St. John Neumann

The circular window above the choir loft was designed by John T. Murphy when the  Redemptorist Church was designated as a diocesan shrine to the Redemptorist saint. Constructed by Hopcroft Art and Stained Glass Works, it was installed in 1977, the year Neumann became the second U.S. citizen to be canonized. (June 19, 1977) He was Bishop of Philadelphia from 1852 to 1860 and built over 50 churches in his lifetime, so it is fitting that the window contains an image of Redemptorist Church–with the addition of a steeple that was never finished.  St. John Nep (omucene) Neumann CSSR –1811-1860

Passio Christi Comforta me (Passion of Christ, comfort me)


St. John Neumann (detail)


North Side Lower Windows (Starting at St. Joseph’s Altar)

  1. The Death of St. Joseph, Patron of a Happy Death
  2. “Let the children come to me…” (Mark 10:14)
  3. Apparition of Sacred Heart of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
  4. Sacred Heart of Jesus
  5. Jesus with theTeachers in the Temple
  6. The Resurrection of the Lord
  7. Peter Appointed Head of the Church
  8. The Ascension of the Lord
  9. Pentecost
  10. Christ the King

The Death of St. Joseph, Patron of a Happy Death


Death of St. Joseph

When Jesus began His public ministry, Mary was with Him, but Joseph was not. Tradition holds that Jesus and Mary were with Joseph when he died, and thus he is invoked as the Patron of a Happy Death.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Apoc [Revelation] 14:13

Memory of Robert Hunton (?)


Let the Children Come to Me


“Let the children come to me…”

Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. (Mark 10:14)



“Let the children come to me…” (detail)


Apparition of Sacred Heart of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque


Apparition of Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margret Mary Alacoque

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, V.H.M.  (1647–1690), was a French Roman Catholic nun and mystic, who promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in its modern form.  The devotion to the Sacred Heart  is one of the most widely practiced and well-known Roman Catholic devotions, taking Jesus Christ′s physical heart as the representation of his divine love for humanity. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque said she learned the devotion from Jesus during a series of apparitions to her between 1673 and 1675.

 Behold this Heart which has so loved me.

            Neil and Nellie O’Gara

Sacred Heart of Jesus


Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross, and bleeding. Here we see the Sacred Heart shining within the bosom of Christ, and his wounded hands. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus’ death, while the fire represents the transformative power of divine love. Historically the devotion to the Sacred Heart is an outgrowth of devotion to what is believed to be Christ’s sacred humanity.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us.


Sacred Heart of Jesus (detail)


The Resurrection of the Lord


Resurrection of the Lord

The Resurrection of Christ is the Christian religious belief that, after being put to death, Jesus rose again from the dead. It is the central tenet of Christian theology and part of the Nicene Creed. According to the New Testament, after the Romans crucified Jesus, he was anointed and buried in a new tomb by Joseph of Arimathea. But God raised him from the dead and he appeared to witnesses before he ascended into heaven, to sit at the right hand of God.  Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, two days after Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion.  The Resurrection (John 20:1-29) is the first Glorious Mystery of the Rosary.

I am the Resurrection and the Life. John 11:25

            In Memory of Father John McGeough CSS by Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Carey


Peter Appointed Head of the Church


Peter Appointed Head of the Church

The Roman Catholic Church traces the beginnings of the papacy to Jesus’ appointment of Peter as head of the Church. Here Peter, who was previously named Simon, receives his new name from Jesus and is commissioned to be the rock of the Church as Jesus hands him the keys of the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 16:17-19 and John 21:15-17)

I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven   Matt 16:19

            In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Grier


The Ascension of the Lord


The Ascension of the Lord

The Ascension of the Lord window depicts the departure of Christ from Earth into the presence of God. The narrative (Luke 24:36-53; Acts 1:9-11)  takes place 40 days after the Resurrection.  In the company of the disciples. Jesus is taken up in their sight after warning them to remain in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit.  As he ascends, a cloud hides him from their view, and two men in white appear to tell them that he will return. The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, always a Thursday. The Ascension is the second Glorious Mystery of the Rosary.

While they looked on, He was raised up. Acts 1:9

            Pray for Mrs. Jozach Miller and Daughter Mary


The Ascension of the Lord (detail)





The Christian holiday of Pentecost, which is celebrated on the seventh Sunday (49 days) after Easter, commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks. About one hundred and twenty followers of Christ  were present, including the Twelve Apostles (Matthias was Judas’ replacement) Jesus’ mother, Mary, other female disciples and others. Christians believe this event represents the birth of the Church. The descent of the Holy Spirit on the Virgin Mary and the Apostles at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41) is the third Glorious Mystery of the Rosary.

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:4

            Pray for Father Alex Chapoton and the deceased Redemptorist Fathers.


Christ the King


Christ the King

Christ the King is a title of Jesus  where the Christ is described as seated at the Right Hand of the Father in Heaven. The liturgical year ends with the feast of Christ the King.

And behold there was a throne set in Heaven and upon the Throne one sitting. Apoc. [Revelation] 4:2

            Pray for Dr. F. J. Iuen and Family


Christ the King (detail)


Clerestory Window over the Sacred Heart Altar

Behold the Man (Ecce Homo)


Behold the Man (Ecce Homo)

 (Ecce Homo) are the Latin words used by Pontius Pilate in the Vulgate translation of John 19:5, when he presents a scourged Jesus Christ, bound and crowned with thorns, to a hostile crowd shortly before his Crucifixion.


Twenty-two clerestory angel windows along both sides of the nave were installed in the 1940’s.


One of 22 Clerestory Angels

This ends our tour of the beautiful stained-glass windows in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Catholic Church in mid-town Kansas City, Missouri. This parish and the people who have worshiped here have played an important part in the history and life of our community. I hope this “journey” has given you a deeper appreciation of this beautiful and impressive church and the windows which contribute so much to its spiritual mission.

As always, please let me know if you find errors or omissions in my documentation. I am always interested in your thoughts and responses to what I have shared with you. Remember, if you click on the “FOLLOW” button, you will always be notified whenever I post a new blog entry.






Posted in 20th Century, Angels, Emil Frei Art Glass, Hebrew Bible, Kansas City, Missouri Area, New Testament, Saints, United States | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Blogger Recognition Award for Bruce

So many wonderful “Blogs” in the world. (Billions according to WordPress.) And so many talented Bloggers. What a surprise then this week to realize that I had been honored with  a Blogger Recognition Award by Jill Printzenhoff,  whose Anecdotes Along Life’s Road: Glimpses of Gold on a Dusty Path   I have been following for a few years. Jill has been reading my blog pretty much since its inception in 2014. Lord knows how we discovered each other’s blogs, but I have enjoyed her honest and thoughtful discussions of her development as a writer and her spiritual journey. She is an excellent writer who shares her heart, mind and soul in a direct and engaging manner. Thanks, Jill, it is an honor to be recognized by you. http://jillprintzenhoff.com

I started my blog Inspired Glass in Kansas City’s Religious Institutions without knowing anything about blogs or WordPress. Somehow, I can’t remember how it happened, I signed up for a WordPress 101 introductory online course for for people who wanted to learn about blogging and how to get started writing one. It was an easy introduction and by the end of a week I had created and begun writing my very own blog. As I recall, it was about that time that I had the idea to document and research stained-glass windows in Kansas City’s wonderfully diverse religious institutions. So the blog began simply as a vehicle for organizing and writing about the churches and other spiritual centers in my own community. It was a way to share with friends, family and other interested folk my “adventures” and “discoveries.”  I never really anticipated “followers” from across the country or even much further away (primarily in the UK). But the internet and the world of Blogging is a seductive mistress. Before I knew it, and I still do not remember how I connected with those first bloggers, I was following blogs from people I had never met, but with whom I believe I have formed a sort of long-distance friendship.

So now it is my turn to recognize a few people whose blogs I have enjoyed and with whom I have traveled vicariously. We have walked in ruins together, visited small out-of-the-way churches, explored beautiful buildings and gardens, “sampled” delicious foods, observed lovers and children, the elderly and the young relaxing and working, from pubs in Ireland, to markets in Central America,  to dancers on the banks of the Seine. There are many wonderful writers and photographers in the blogosphere. Here are a few I follow and who I want to recognize with an Award.

My first Recognition Award goes to Wife of Bath whose Picnic at the Cathedral is an enchanting journey to cities, towns, and villages in far-off places across the globe. With a great sense of humor, a healthy degree of irreverence,  a great eye for art and architecture,  and a rich understanding of history, the Wife of Bath takes readers along with herself and her husband as they seek out very budget conscious travel and delicious gastronomic discoveries. They are courageous street food noshers. https://picnicatthecathedral.com

My second Recognition Award goes to Blosslyn, whose blog Echoes of the Past is an always engaging exploration of people and places in the UK,  though she will take you along to beautiful places on the Continent if you let her. She has a inquiring  eye and an ever ready camera to record, lighthouses, gardens, trains, and folk in their many interesting occupations. But what I love in Blodssyn’s work is her exploration of churches throughout the British Isles and elsewhere. We share  an interest in stained glass and  I have been enriched by her documentation of the many splendid windows the various churches she has invited me to “visit” with her.  https://blosslynspage.wordpress.com

My next Recognition Award goes to Caroline, whose Flickering Lamps blog is a fascinating exploration of architecture and history, often centered around churches and cemeteries, again mostly in the UK, but now and then in France. Caroline’s well researched and beautifully written blogs, provide the reader with engaging and effectively illustrated discussions of places and personages who usually have fascinating historical significance. Taking a walk with her as she explores places one might easily miss as a tourist, or even in a part of the city one thought one knew well, is always interesting and informative. I love letting her lead me on a walk that never fails to uncover a rich treasure of information. She is a great teacher. I know I appreciate what I learn from her every time she gives me a tour of a place I probably would never have encountered. https:// flickeringlamps.com.

There seems to be no end to wonderful photography blogs, but I feel fortunate to have discovered Pat Callahan’s Photography blog.  Pat is a sensitive and accomplished photographer whose work in color and black-and-white captures the beauty of people at all  ages and in different cultures.  His recent work from Guatemala revealed colorful markets and the people there with a loving eye, respectful of their beauty and their dignity. Pat sensitively records children in their moments of joy, trepidation, and exploration or risk. Their relationships are lovingly captured in his work. He observes and records the common interactions of people as they socialize in a pub in Ireland or Tango in a street in Paris. He has a great eye and I believe his sensitive heart is revealed in every photo he posts. I am happy to offer him my Recognition Award, though he needs no award from me. Anyone who follows his blog is captivated by his talent.  https://patcallahanphotography.com/

Who has the patience and time to enjoy the many thoughtful, inspiring, educational, stimulating blogs in the blogging universe? Indeed it is a diverse and rewarding place to explore. Perhaps you will follow these bloggers and feel as rewarded for doing so as I have.

I know it has been a while since I have added new Stained glass windows to this blog. Now that season has changed, I plan to be out knocking on church doors again. I Hope you enjoy the new postings during the rest of this year. Happy blogging all.

Rules for the Nominees:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 5 to 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated and provide the link to the post you created.




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St. James Catholic Church

St. James Catholic Church          

3909 Harrison Street

Kansas City, Missouri 6410



Remember, this blog looks better if you click on the blue headline.

The Parish was founded in 1906.


We, the people of the St. James community of faith, commit ourselves to building the Reign of God for all people, serving especially our neighbors in Midtown, Kansas City.



Our parishioners are diverse, hailing from 25 countries, speaking 15  languages, ranging from infancy to 100 years and having many other cultural, lifestyle and socio-economic differences. Yet we live and work as members of one family.





On August 26, 1906, the first Mass of St. James Parish was celebrated by Fr. John W. Keyes and a handful of Catholic families from the southern-most neighborhoods of Kansas City. Services were held on the second floor of Walsham Hall, a dance hall at 38th and Woodlawn. The church rented space on Sundays for $5 an hour, and the facilities were shared with Baptists and Later Day Saints. The altar was made of dry goods boxes nailed together and covered with a linen table cloth. In those early years, three rooms were rented over Brinkley’s Drug Store, one for the priest’s living quarters, one for an office, and one for weekday services. The first church building for St. James was a small frame structure at the northeast corner of 40th and Tracy.  The first Mass was held there on Christmas Eve in 1906.

Construction of the present church began in 1911 and was completed in 1912. The building was modeled on St. James Episcopal church in London. It is made from Carthage limestone in an old English style with a red tiled roof.  The limestone was salvaged from the 25-year old piers of the so-called Winner bridge project, which had been abandoned during the 1893 depression and never completed. Armour, Swift and Burlington did build a new bridge later at the same location. The first Mass in the 3901 Harrison building was celebrated on Christmas Eve 1912.




The new St. James church building was dedicated August 24, 1913.


By 1919 the parish had grown from its original 20 families in 1906 to about 4,000 families and was the second largest Catholic congregation in Kansas City.  Msgr. John W. Keys, the founding pastor, served this parish from 1906 to 1950. In 1924, the church was extended to the east which enlarged the sanctuary and allowed for the relocation of the present-day altar and sacristies.

In 1917, Fr. Keyes mounted a U. S. flag at the northwest corner of the church. No other Catholic church was flying the flag at this time. The U.S. entered World War I that year and he did this so that Catholic citizens of the parish could express their patriotism. (Anti-Catholic and particularly anti-German and anti-immigrant feelings were common in the country at that time.)

St. James Catholic Church has played an important part in the lives of Kansas City Catholics throughout the Twentieth century and now, well into the Twenty-first. Over the years, St. James Church has served the larger  and ever-changing community, especially as the area became more ethnically, racially and socially diverse.  By the 1960s, as the neighborhood’s social make up changed, St. James evolved from a “suburban” to an “inner-city” parish. In 1967 the congregation numbered over 2,600 people. By 1974 that number had dropped to 1,800. And by 2006 the congregation had become no more than 160 families.


St. Vincent de Paul

St. James’ facilities have been used over the years by neighborhood organizations, health care workers, and support groups. The Human Resources Corporation was housed at St. James in the 1960s and 1970s. The St. Vincent de Paul thrift store on Troost, located just next to the church, was opened in 1970. The food pantry and soup kitchen also opened in the 1970s.  In the 1990s the Parish Center was re-opened as the Troost-Midtown Community Center. The food pantry became affiliated with Bishop Sullivan Center in 2002 and was renamed St. James Place. In 2006 alone, St James Place served more than 3,700 meals per month and provided food and emergency assistance to more than 650 families.

 “To my mind St. James is the parish that refused to die. By all measures of parish viability-location, population and income- St. James became a candidate for closure not once, but twice in recent years. But it survived and is currently undergoing a mini renaissance which, God willing, will usher in an even greater future.”

—The Most Reverend Raymond J. Boland, DD, Former Bishop of Kansas City-Saint Joseph

The Stained Glass

I have not been able to learn who designed or manufactured the windows in St. James or precisely when all the windows were purchased and installed. As is often the case with older churches, the names of the designers and creators of these inspirational windows may be unknown and forgotten, but their creations continue to bring us joy and a sense of awe.

On the north sanctuary wall are windows depicting St. Matthew and St. Mark; St. Agnes; The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin; The Agony of Christ; The Visitation; and St. James the Younger.

St. Matthew and St. Mark

St. Agnes

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

Jesus’ Agony in the Garden

The Visitation

St. James the Younger

On the south wall of the sanctuary are windows depicting St. John and St. Luke; Catherine of Alexandria; The Ascension of Christ; Jesus and St. Joseph; The Good Shepherd; and the Resurrection of Christ.

St. John and St. Luke

St. Catherine of Alexandria

The Ascension of Christ

St. Joseph and the Infant Jesus

The Good Shepherd

The Resurrection of Christ

These original sanctuary windows are all designed in a consistent style and probably were installed at the time the church was originally built in 1916.

Newer stained-glass windows were installed in the north and south walls of the 1924 addition, where the altar is now located. These are: The Annunciation, The Nativity, The Presentation of Christ in the Temple, The Stripping of Christ’s Garments, The Crucifixion, and The Assumption.

The Annunciation

The Nativity

The Presentation in the Temple

Stripping  of Christ’s Garments

The Crucifixion

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary


Two beautiful newer windows have been installed in the small chapel on the south side of the sanctuary, just before the area of the altar, ambo and credence table. These are of a different style from the older windows in the rest of the church and probably were installed more recently than those in the 1924 addition.The images of Christ and of Mary are  particularly beautiful.









Other, small windows have been installed on either side of the north and south sanctuary doors and in other areas as well.

Although this post is about the Stained Glass windows in St. James Church, behind the church, on the wall of the thrift shop, is a contemporary expression of the wish to honor and, perhaps, memorialize, four praiseworthy women who have contributed to and served  our community: The Grandmothers of Manheim by Alexander Austin.

Lucielle Leaphart…Orissa Keli-Logan…Arvern Hughes…Dorothy Hawkins

Posted in 20th Century, Kansas City, Missouri Area, New Testament | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Our Lady of Sorrows Church




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Our Lady of Sorrows ParishIMG_3063-1-1

2552 Gilham Road

Kansas City, Missouri

(816) 421-2112


Parish Founded: November 1880

Current Church Dedicated: September 16, 1923



Our Lady of Sorrows Parish was founded in 1890 when Bishop John J. Hogan signed an agreement with the Franciscan Provincial for the Franciscans to minister to the German-speaking people within a defined area of Kansas City. (This would occur again further south in Kansas City in 1909 when the Guardian Angels parish was created as a German National Church.) Before 1890, all German-speaking Catholics in Kansas City attended services at the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, which was located “downtown” at Ninth and McGee Streets.

Our Lady of Sorrows had several homes in the first decades of the twentieth century. The church moved from a rented brick building on Southwest Boulevard to one that was built in 1891 at 23rd and Baltimore. That church property was sold in 1906 so the new Union Railway Station could to be built.  A newer church that served the congregation from 1907 to 1923 was built in the area of 26th and Locust (now Gillham Road).  The current church building at 2552 Gillham was finally built and dedicated in 1923. The tower of the church was struck by lightning in 1944. It was repaired and given its current appearance in 1946. The interior of the church is of classical style, with columns, arches, and a barrel-vaulted ceiling.

DSC_9810The “Art Glass” windows throughout the church were designed and manufactured by the Kansas City Stained Glass Works Company. According to the original contract, all of the windows in the church were made from “the very best American Opalescent Glasses.”  The windows in Our Lady of Sorrows are not intended as primary sources of religious storytelling.  As Bruce Matthews notes in his beautiful book, Windows of Kansas City, “their inspiration radiates from glass panes in two shades of color: purple, which represents sorrow, and green, the traditional hue of hope.” Yellow glass throughout these windows represents joy.

Figurative medallions are  placed in the sanctuary’s three rose windows and at the apex of the tall sanctuary windows on each of the side walls.

On the north side of the sanctuary,  the windows include medallions depicting Christian symbols of Faith and Hope, such as the Crown and the Cross signifying Christ as King,  the Cross and an Anchor signifying  Hope, and a Heart signifying Charity. Each of the tall sanctuary windows is dedicated with a memorial or honorary plaque.



The window with the wooden Cross inside the Crown symbolizes  and is dedicated to the memory of Joseph Sommer and Family.


The window with the Crown and the wooden Cross on the Book of Scripture symbolizes Christ as preached from the Bible and is dedicated to the memory of Lena Mazzaffe.


The window with the Cross inside the Crown symbolizes Christ as Ruler and is dedicated to the memory of Ferd. Kleinman and Family.


The Cross,  Anchor,  the Heart in this window symbolize Faith, Hope and Charity. the window is dedicated to the memory of Frank Lodde and Family.

Two large rose windows are located on the north and south walls above the confessionals. The medallion in the rose window on the south wall depicts the Triple Tiara of the Pope and Keys of Peter representing the Pope as Christ’s Vicar.


The  medallion in the rose window on the north wall  contains an image of the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, recalling the Mosaic Law.


An image of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, is in the rose window above and behind the choir loft.


Each of the four of the long windows on the south side of the sanctuary has a medallion with imagery from the Book of Revelations symbolizing  one of the four Evangelists: Matthew with the Winged Man/Angel, symbolizing Jesus’ incarnation; Mark with the Winged Lion, symbolizing courage and monarchy; Luke with a winged Ox/Bull, symbolizing sacrifice, service and strength; and John with an Eagle, symbolizing Christians looking into eternity with out fear.



The Matthew window is dedicated to the memory of Henry and Anna Brueggerman.


The Mark window is dedicated by the St. Joseph Benevolent Society.


The Luke window is dedicated to the memory of Harry and Mary Elizabeth Thompson.


The John window is dedicated to the memory of Jacob Kirchner and Family.

Other non-figurative windows in opalescent glass continue the color themes and circular shapes in the doors and vestibules.







There is a beautiful and harmonious unity to the design and color of the glass used throughout the church. From the soaring sanctuary windows, to the three rose windows, and even  the lunettes over the doors and the small circular windows in the doors, the gentle purples, whites and greens of the opalescent glass  contribute to one of Kansas City’s most beautiful and inspirational spaces.




In the 1950’s, the area around Our Lady of Sorrows was rezoned to allow light industry, DSC_9912and people began moving away. But Our Lady of Sorrows now finds itself at the center of a newly developed and thriving Union Hill area of mid-town Kansas City. It is surrounded by new commercial and residential areas and sits next to the corporate headquarters of Hallmark Cards.  It is in the heart of the Crown Center commercial district and the “Crossroads” cultural area. It is just across the street from the Adele Hall Campus of Children’s Mercy Hospital and only a short walk to the beautifully restored Union Station and the outstanding World War One Memorial and Museum.




I am grateful for the assistance of Father Randolph Sly, Pastor, and Stephanie Franke-Ibarra, Director of Operations, for the materials regarding the history of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish. And to Father Michael Coleman, JCL, whose wonderful books Thus Far by Faith:A History of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph Missouri and Further by Faith: Celebrating the Art and Architecture of the Diocese of Kansas City St. Joseph have been so very interesting and helpful. Of course, Bruce Matthew’s beautiful book Windows of Kansas City  is always inspiring.

Posted in 20th Century, Hebrew Bible, Kansas City, Missouri Area, New Testament, Saints, United States | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Holy Rosary Catholic Church

(Remember, for best viewing, click on the Blue Headline)

Holy Rosary Catholic Church

911 E. Missouri Ave

Kansas City, MO 64106

Parish Established: October 1890

Current Church: Dedicated December 20, 1903


I have included “slide shows” like the following one throughout this post. They include details from the fuller views of the large church windows. Take a few seconds to enjoy them as you read along.

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When Italian immigrants seeking work on the railroads came to Kansas City in the late 19th century, many settled on the “North Side,” between Front Street and Independence Avenue. At first they attended St. Patrick Church, which was predominantly Irish. However, the Italian speaking immigrants needed an Italian speaking priest who could hear confession in Italian, whose sermons could be understood when given in Italian, and who could minister to the spiritual and social needs of the Italian speaking community. In 1890, because so many of these Italian immigrants did not have a place where they could attend church services in their native language, Father Ferdinando Santipolo was sent as a missionary by the Scalabrini Fathers to start a church that would serve these Italian immigrants.  The parish was founded in 1891 in what would be, for many years, a solidly Italian neighborhood .


The building wasn’t standing for long before a fire broke out in the early morning hours of Easter Sunday, April 12, 1903. A new brick church was built and opened that same year, but fire would plague the church two more times during its history, again in 1947 and a third time in 1955. The rebuilt interior included murals by Dante Cosintino, whose beautiful artwork has graced many of Kansas City’s Catholic churches.  However, as these church interiors were remodeled over the years, many of his works have been lost.

During World War II, Italian prisoners of war were brought in by truck from Riverside to attend Sunday Mass in Holy Rosary.


The Holy Rosary credit union was created in 1943 to help immigrants and their families get the financial support they needed. According to Father Charles Coleman in This Far by Faith: A popular history of the Catholic people of west and northwest Missouri, the credit union “loaned literally millions of dollars to individuals who had no credit ratings and who could get no loans from other lending institutions.”

DSC_9738Although the Missionary goal of the Scalabrini Community originally was for the Italian migrants and their descendants, their mission was later extended to include migrants of all nationalities. Between 1950 and 1960, most of the Italian parishes staffed by the Scalabrini missionaries across the United States became multi–cultural and multi–national.

Over time the population around Holy Rosary changed and the church became the spiritual home for members of the Cuban, Mexican and Vietnamese communities. Holy Rosary is now a mix of ethnicities, backgrounds, and ages.  A Vietnamese priest lived at the parish rectory from 1981 to 1991. He provided all religious and pastoral services to the Vietnamese community. In June 1991, the diocese established a Vietnamese parish and the Vietnamese priest became the pastor of that new parish. And  religious services in Vietnamese were discontinued at Holy Rosary. But the Vietnamese people living in the neighborhood and surrounding areas who had been attending Holy Rosary continued to participate in the church’s services and social activities. They still continue to do so and since 2004, in Advent season, the gospel is read in Vietnamese on weekend and weekday masses. The parish weekly bulletin has a section in Vietnamese.  And the Feast of Our Lady of La Vang is celebrated in August.

The Holy Rosary parish may have changed over the past 125 years, but the church continues to serve  families  with long histories at Holy Rosary.   New families from many ethnic heritages continue to worship and participate in the church’s spiritual and social activities.

A bit about the Scalabrinian Fathers and Brothers:

Blessed Giovanni Battista Scalabrini (John Baptist Scalabrini) (8 July 1839 – 1 June 1905) was ordained priest on 30 May 1863. He was made Bishop of Piacenza in Italy on 28 November 1887. He founded the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles now known as the Scalabrinian Fathers and Brothers. Its initial mission was to “maintain Catholic faith and practice among Italian emigrants in the New World.” Today, they and their sister organizations, the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo (founded by Scalabrini on 25 October 1895) and Secular Institute of the Scalabrinian Missionary Women (founded 25 July 1961) minister to migrants, seafarers, refugees and displaced persons. Holy Rosary Parish has been staffed by the Scalabrinians since being founded in 1891.

I have not been able to determine the history of these windows, but I assume they were installed at the time the church was constructed or shortly thereafter. Nor have I been able to identify the designers or craftsmen who created them. Perhaps a bit more research with the help of the church historian or archivist may prove fruitful here. I hope so.

Here are the individual windows with some closer looks and their dedications.

The Nativity

Dedicated in honor/ memory of:

Jasper & Zaira Brancato  (Right panel) Stephan & Elda Lipari (Left panel)


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Young Jesus Preaching in the Temple

Dedicated in the honor/memory of:

Alberta Stephani (Left panel)  Marian-Joan Brancato (Right panel)


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Agony in the Garden

Dedicated in honor/memory of:

Anthony & Angeline



Dedicated in honor/memory of:

Donated by The Altar Society (Left panel)  Sgt. Vito F. Barbieri (Right panel)


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Dedicated in honor/memory of:

Joseph A. Cherrito (Left panel)   Pasquale & Faustina George (Right panel)


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Dedicated in honor/memory of:

Caroline-Gustie Gargotta (Left panel)   Rose Mazzuca (Right panel)


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Other Small Windows

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Posted in 20th Century, Kansas City, Missouri Area, New Testament, United States | 3 Comments

Welcome Back to Postings From Inspired Glass

Mary Magdalene from the Crucifixion Window in Holy Rosary

Hello everyone. It has been a while since I have posted anything in Inspired  Glass: Stained Glass Windows in Kansas City Religious Institutions. I am happy to say that I have returned to the quest. I will soon post images from Holy Rosary Catholic Church, a 125 year old parish that was at the center of the  Kansas City Italian community in the first half of this century. The parish was founded in 1881 and the building dedicated in 1903.




Rose Window from Our Lady of Sorrows




In the next week or so I will be posting images from another beautiful Kansas City church, Our Lady of Sorrows, which was founded in 1880, but built in 1923.




Thanks for following my blog. I appreciate your support and your enjoyment of this project.


Leopard Lacewing (Cethosia cyane)


By the way, I have been creating another blog just devoted to my own photography: People, Orchids, and Butterflies. I’d love for you to check it out and follow me there too if it interests you. You can find it at Brucesphotos.wordpress.com.

So one more treat for my faithful “followers.”

On a recent trip to Evanston, Illinois, a suburb contiguous to Chicago, Illinois, I explored a small neighborhood church. There were many beautiful windows, which I will share in another post (in the Windows Away from Kansas City section of this blog). I think the King David window is simply gorgeous and I want to share it with you now.  More from Chicago and Evanston later.


King David Window (detail)

King David Window (detail)

King David Window (detail)

Thanks again for following and being patient. Stay Tuned!







Posted in 20th Century, Angels, Chicago-Evanston Area, Hebrew Bible, Kansas City, Missouri Area, New Testament, United States | 4 Comments

Hanukkah Window Festival of Light

Judah Maccabeus

Judah Maccabeus



I recently shared a beautiful Nativity window with you from a church in Saint Louis, Missouri.  While Christmas celebrations begin on December 24 all around the world,  Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights/Dedication, also starts on December 24th this year, and continues for eight days.

Here is a window dedicated to the hero of the Book of Maccabee, Judah Maccabee, which I photographed a couple of years ago in the sanctuary of Temple Beth Israel in West Hartford, Connecticut.

One of my favorite Hanukkah pictures was taken last year in my house at our family gathering. My wonderful gift stands proudly next to our beautiful Menorah. My family treats me well.



I know that all of our prayers this year are for a world of peace, charity and hope. Enjoy the holidays, and remember those less fortunate.

Best to you all in 2017.

Posted in 20th Century, Hartford, CT, Hebrew Bible, Jewish, Leaders, United States | Leave a comment

Nativity – St. Alphonsus Ligouri “Rock” Catholic Church (St. Louis, Missouri)





On a recent trip to Saint Louis Missouri, I was able to photograph all of the beautiful stained glass windows on the first level of this magnificent Redemptorist church. As the Christmas holiday approaches, I thought you might enjoy seeing the lovely Nativity window  from around 1905. This window was designed by Meyer & Company of Munich, New York.  I absolutely love this window and so many others in this wonderful church. I will post many more of them at a later date. For now, December 2016, wishing you all an inspired holiday with your families and friends, and may joy and peace be known throughout our very troubled world. Here are some closer looks at elements from this beautiful window.


The Nativity (detail)

The Nativity (detail)

The Nativity (detail)

The Nativity (detail)

The Nativity (detail)

The Nativity (detail)

The Nativity

The Nativity

The Nativity (detail)

The Nativity (detail)

The Nativity (detail)

The Nativity (detail)

The Nativity (detail)

The Nativity (detail)


Posted in 20th Century, Meyer & Company Munich/New York, New Testament, St Louis Area, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Early Stained Glass in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jesus Healing the Paralitic

Jesus Healing the Lame Man, French, 1170

In October of 2014, I spent a day in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Although the Met’s primary collection of Medieval art is at the  Met Cloisters overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park, the 5th Avenue building offers visitors a wonderful selection of stained glass from France, England and Germany dating from around 1170 to the mid 1500’s. (Of course the Met also has a wonderful collection of newer stained glass from Europe and the United States, but we need to save that for another blog.)  I hope you enjoy seeing some of the photos I took that day and  learning about these amazing stained glass panels. So let’s take a walk together through the Met’s collection of early European stained glass.


The text in this blog post is based on material from English and French Medieval Stained Glass in the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Jane Hayward: revised and edited by Mary B. Shepard and Cynthia Clark (2003), and from Stained Glass Windows in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bulletin, v 30. no 3, December 1971-January 1972, as well as from gallery labels and the museum’s excellent website . (If I were a more thorough scholar, I would certainly have mentioned the exact source and location of information I used from those excellent resources as I included it. Mea culpa, as they would have said in the 13th century.)

I created this blog to document stained glass in Kansas City’s religious institutions. But now and then I will include windows I have seen in other locations. I can’t stay away. I love them. So why not share them? Enjoy.


French, from the Cathedral of Saint-Etienne, Bourges, ca. 1200-1215

The red devil is probably from a panel depicting the Last Judgement. The final image is most likely from a depiction of the Crucifixion.

God (Incarnate as Jesus Christ) Closing the Door to Noah’s Ark

French, Poitiers, from The History of Noah window, the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre

Painted around 1190

French 1190

In Medieval to late Gothic art, God is often represented as Christ, His Incarnation. Thus it is Christ who is shown closing the door of Noah’s ark.  It is thought that this fragment was originally part of a roundel, and may be the sole surviving piece from a large window depicting the whole story of Noah which had been in the Cathedral of Poitiers. It is typical of West-French glass from the late 12th century and recalls Romanesque frescoes from the nearby Church of St. Savin, painted about 60 years earlier in about 1130.

Much early glass in this cathedral and elsewhere was destroyed during the English wars of 1346, when Henry, Count of Derby, viciously attacked the churches in Poitiers and pillaged the Cathedral. The  Cathedral was also damaged by the Huguenots in the wars of 1562 and 1569. In addition to the destruction from wars, windows in the Cathedral have been moved or replaced in restoration efforts over the years.

A Panel with Censing Angels from a Dormition of the Virgin window

French, Troyes, Collegiate Church of Saint-Etienne, ca. 1170

Here two groups of angels swing golden censers.

Angels swinging censers French ca. 1170

Angels Swinging Censers, French, ca. 1170

Christ Healing the Paralytic Man (Fragment)

From The Public Life of Christ Window

French, Troyes, Collegiate Church of Saint-Etienne, ca. 1170

Jesus Healing the Paralitic

Jesus Healing the Lame Man, French, 1170

Scenes from the public life of Christ were common in the 12th century, but representation of his miracles is rare. This fragment, and the original window, was probably part of a larger iconographic program involving several windows. Scholars believe that this window was probably painted by a manuscript painter because the meticulous technique- the precision of line and fineness of detail- was not common in glass of this period. Noteworthy for this period also are the unusual colors of lemon yellow, light greenish blue, and deep wine pink.




The Prophet Abiud

(The bust of Abiud and the body of another ancestor of Christ)

French, Braine, from the Church of Saint-Yved, ca. 1195-1205

According to the Gospel of Matthew (1:13) Abiud is one of the ancestors of Christ.

Abiud French 1195-1205

Abiud, French, ca. 1195-1205

The upper portion of this figure is from the genealogy series of the clerestory windows in the Abbey of Saint-Remi in Rheims.  The lower section, Abiud’s torso and legs, is actually from a separate ancestor figure. By the end of the 12th century, large figures were commonly used for the upper windows of Gothic churches because the larger proportions made them more easily discernable from the nave.







Scenes from the Legend of Saint Vincent of Saragossa

French, originally from the chapel (now destroyed) of the Abbey of Saint Germain-des-Pres, Paris, ca. 1245-47

The legend of Saint Vincent of Saragossa was one of the most popular hagiographical subjects represented in stained glass in the 13th century.

Scenes from the Legend of St Vincint of Saragossa French 1245-47

Scenes from the Legend of St. Vincent of Saragossa, French, 1245-47

The monks of Saint Germain-des-Pres had special devotion for Saint Vincent (d.304) because their abbey was founded to receive a relic from the saint’s tunic. The relic was transported from Spain by the Merovingian King, Childbert, and his brother, Clothar, King of the Franks. King Childbert is shown in this window on horseback accompanied by his brother, King Clothar. In other scenes,  Valerius, the Bishop of Saragossa, and Vincent, his Dean, are seen confronting Dacian, the Roman Proconsul. Dacian is seen sitting on his throne with two guards ordering the arrest of Valerius  and Vincent, and condemning them for their faith. Bishop Valerius and Vincent are then seen in chains on their way to prison. Finally, we see Saint Vincent’s body being thrown into the sea, Bishop Valerius having been spared in respect of his age. Above we see a man in a tower blowing an oliphant and censing angels.



 Tree of Jesse Window

German, Swabia, ca. 1280-1300

Tree of Jesse window, German, 1280-1300

Tree of Jesse window, German, 1280-1300

Jesse is understood to be an ancestor of Jesus (Isaiah xi.1). Here Jesse is depicted as the root of a great tree. As he lies asleep, a tree rises from his side in a dream. Prophets hold scrolls that foretell the coming of Christ. King David is prominent here, holding his harp. Upper roundels contain scenes from the life of Jesus. The window includes scenes of the Presentation, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, and the Ascension. In the late 13th century, the treatment of the Jesse Tree in stained glass windows underwent a transformation. In general, the usual inclusion of Christ’s ancestors was replaced with scenes from his life, which were juxtaposed with Old Testament prototypes in adjacent lancets. This window includes scenes from Jesus’s life (infancy and Passion) but also the genealogical figure of King David. Also of note, the panels depicting the last Supper and the Ascension show all of the Apostles treated in one group-with several heads on one piece of glass.

David From Tree of Jesse window, German 1280-1300

David From Tree of Jesse window, German 1280-1300


Scenes from The Life of the Virgin

German, from a former Carmelite church in Boppard-am-Rhein, ca. 1444

2014 11 05_1855

Two Scenes from The Life of the Virgin and Two from The Passion of Christ, German, 1444

The Nativity

The Nativity, from the Life of the Virgin, German, 1444

The Nativity, from the Life of the Virgin, German, 1444

The Visitation

The Visitation from The Life of the Virgin

The Visitation, from The Life of the Virgin, German, 1444

Two Scenes From the Passion of Christ

The Deposition

Deposition of Christ German 1444

The Deposition of Christ, German, 1444


From Deposition of Christ, German,1444

From the Deposition of Christ, German,1444

From Deposition of Christ, German,1444

From The Deposition of Christ, German, 1444


The Entombment

Entombment of Christ, German, 1444

Entombment of Christ, German, 1444


These four panels are very likely from a lost Jesse Tree window. The church in Boppard-am-Rhein was dedicated to the Virgin, the patroness of the Carmelite order. Each of the windows depicted an aspect of her legend. The Virgin was given an unusual emphasis in this Jesse Tree window. Scenes from her life, including the Nativity and the Visitation, were placed in the central light, above the reclining Jesse, while side lancets contained scenes from Christ’s Passion. Symbolically, Mary was the trunk of the tree that bore the fruit of Christ’s sacrifice.

Head of John the Baptist

Probably painted by the Master of the Life of John the Baptist

French, Normandy, Rouen (?) ca.1500-1510

Head of St John the Baptist French ca 1500-1510

Head of St John the Baptist, French, ca. 1500-1510

The head, cut from another composition, has been inserted. Surrounds of various pieces of contemporaneous glass have been cut and arranged to complete the image.

Saint Gerard with His Protector, Gerard de Haraucourt, Bishop of Toul

French, 1529

Franciose d'Anglure and St Francis of Assisi French 1529

Saint Gerard and Gerard de Haraucourt,  French, 1529

 Large Composite Window

English, 15th century

Standing Apostles and Saints

Gloucestershire, ca. 1475-80

Composite, English ca. 1480

Composite, English, ca. 1480

Each of the Apostles and saints is identified by his or her attribute and by inscriptions on the niches under which they stand: Saint Andrew by his X shaped cross, Saint Peter by his key, Saint James the Great by his pilgrim staff and hat, and by the scrip bearing a scallop shell, Saint Mathias (or Matthew). Below them are Saint Stephen, Saint Margaret of Antioch, Edward the Confessor, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria with her attributes of the sword and the wheel, and ??.

St. Matthew English 1475-80

Saint James the Great, English, 1475-80 (detail)

 Saint Barbara

Norfolk , ca.1450

2014 11 05_1872.JPG

Saint Barbara is shown holding her attribute, the tower where she was imprisoned by her father. She is standing under an elaborate architectural element which includes the letter “B”.

Angel (Cherub),

English, East Anglia,  ca.1450

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English glazing programs from this period often included representations of the nine orders of angels. Cherubim were usually shown wearing feathered cloaks like the one shown here.



















Saint John the Evangelist with the Cup of Poison and Serpents

German, possibly from the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Trier, ca. 1520

St John the Evangelist

St John the Evangelist, German, ca.1520

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Saint Michael and Donor

French,  Normandy (or possibly Paris), ca. 1500

St Michael and Donor French 1500

St Michael and Donor, French, ca. 1500

The donor who kneels before his patron saint is most likely of royal lineage since the  shield held by Saint Michael displays the royal fleurs-de-lis of France.

The donor and the heraldic device on his shield are unidentified. The small angels playing musical instruments are typical of late Norman windows.

The figures are enclosed in a superbly painted niche of grisaille and silver stain. The costumes reveal richly brocaded material. The extraordinary richness of background and architectural details is characteristic of Norman glass.




St Michael and Donor French 1500

St. Michael and Donor. French, ca. 1500 (detail)


angel, St Barbara, St Michael, Nativity, Visitation

Architectural Niche Saint Michael and Donor, ca 1500 (detail)


 Saint Roch, the van Merle Family Arms, and a Donor

German, 1505-08

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The woman depicted here as the donor may be a posthumous representation of Gudula van Merle, who died in the plague in 1502. Saint Roch, the pilgrim saint who was actively involved against the disease, stands behind her. It is thought that this window was part of the glazing of a private chapel.





A Knight and His Patron Saint, Saint Bernard, A Bishop and His Patron Saint, and a Lady and Her Patron Saint

All from a Cistercian church at Maria Wald SW of Cologne,

German, 1505-08

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Saint Bernard and Donors ? German 1505-08

Saint Bernard and Donors ? German,  1505-08

A Bishop and his Patron Saint, German, 1505-08

A Bishop and his Patron Saint, German, 1505-08

A Lady and Her Patron Saint German  1505-08

A Lady and Her Patron Saint, German, 1505-08

A Lady and Her Patron Saint (detail)

A Lady and Her Patron Saint, German, 1505-08 (detail)


Joseph’s Brethren Discover Money in Their Grain Sacks

French, Normandy, Rouen (?) ca. 1530

Joseph's Bretheren Discover Money in their Sacks (Gen 42) French ca 1530

Joseph’s Brethren Discover Money in their Sacks (Gen 42:1-28), French, ca. 1530

Joseph’s brothers traveled to Egypt to buy corn when famine plagued their homeland. They failed to realize that their brother Joseph, whom they had sold many years before, was now governor. In his attempt to evaluate his brothers, whom Joseph recognizes, he accuses them of spying and imprisons them. After three days he releases them and allows them to buy the much needed corn. On the way home from Egypt they discover the money they thought they had spent for the corn is now in their sacks of grain. (This image depicts the moment of their discovery.) They are afraid they will now be accused of theft. They return to Egypt and, leaving Simeon as surety, agree to return with their youngest brother Benjamin. They return with him and return the money. This time Joseph’s cup is found in Benjamin’s bag. Upon returning the cup, Joseph reveals his identity to them and the brothers are reunited and forgiven.

From Joseph's Bretheren Discover Money French 1530

From Joseph’s Brethren Discover Money, French, ca. 1530

From Joseph's Bretheren French 1530

From Joseph’s Brethren Discovering Money, French, ca. 1530

From Joseph's Bretheren Discover Money French ca 1530

From Joseph’s Brethren Discover Money, French, ca. 1530

The Annunciation

French (Paris), ca. 1550

Annunciation ( French 1550)

Annunciation, French, ca. 1550

Kneeling in prayer, Mary raises her hand in surprise as Gabriel informs her that she will be the mother of the Messiah. Gabriel’s opening salutation “Hail Mary, Full of Grace” is partially inscribed in Latin on the scroll above her. The composition and the classicized figures were derived from a well known work by Raphael (1483-1520). The New York architect Stanford White (1853-1906) added the inscription on the bottom of the Gabriel panel.

From Annunciation French ca 1550

From The Annunciation, French, ca. 1550


Metropolitan Museum of Art NY

Metropolitan Museum of Art NY

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is a wonderful museum, a treasury of works spanning over 5,000 years from cultures throughout the world. One can spend days there  awed and amazed at the scope and quality of their collection. In my time at the Fifth Avenue building, I focused on their collection of stained glass from Medieval Europe and later periods as well. (The American glass is for another blog.) Although I did not get to the Cloisters (the Met’s separate building devoted to Medieval art) the glass on display at Fifth Avenue, along with other wonderful objects and sculpture from the period, not to mention the paintings, provided me with several hours of wonder and delight. I love being able to share just some of what I saw with you. I learned a lot about these panels and I hope you have as well. When one realizes that the earliest glass fragments and intact panels we have are from around 1100, the objects I have shared with you must be appreciated as extremely rare and precious. We are very lucky to have them and to be able to see them preserved, restored and up close. I hope you enjoyed this walk through the Met’s early stained glass collection as much as I did.  (You can leave your admission sticker here.)

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Posted in Metropolitan Museum, Museums | 10 Comments

Westport Presbyterian Church

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201 Westport Road      Kansas City, MO      64111


(816) 931-1032

“We are an historic congregation celebrating over 180 years of service: 1835-now.”

“Our faith is over two thousand years old-Our thinking and our vision are not.”

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Westport Presbyterian is a dynamic spiritual organization supported by a diverse community.


The mission of Westport Presbyterian Church is to discern God’s activity in the new millennium; to follow Jesus in ministries of service, healing, justice and prayer; and to make the city a better place for people to live, work and worship.

The Westport Cumberland Presbyterian Church was founded in 1835. A brick building was erected on the site of the current building in 1896. On January 11, 1903, that building burned to the ground. The present stone building, including the sanctuary, chapel and rooms upstairs, was dedicated on October 2, 1904. The church celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1985 and its 175th anniversary in 2010.


On Dec. 28, 2011, a terrible fire completely destroyed the church, the sanctuary, chapel, and the large three-level building known as the Goodman Building.  Fortunately no one was killed or injured.





The renovated sanctuary and chapel are bright and airy, with a raised ceiling that contributes to the space’s open and uplifting character. Fortunately, the church was able to save and restore the original windows from 1904 as well as the Willet windows installed in the 1950’s.





In 2016  the new organ built by the Pasi Organ Builders of Roy, Washington was installed.






Each of the windows from the lovely 1904 sanctuary is still held within its original wood frame, and hung in front of a protective larger glass window.

2nd triple on west wall


The windows on the west wall face outside the building and receive abundant natural light.

detail J P Reymond

However, the set of triple-paneled windows on the east wall no longer face the outside and lack natural illumination, which makes it difficult to appreciate their beauty. Hopefully, some additional lighting will be installed to improve their visibility and balance the appearance of the complimentary windows on the west wall.


Of note also, the two double-paneled windows on the north wall, facing Westport, are “reversed.” These windows,  designed by the Willet Studio of Philadelphia in the mid 1950’s, are installed so that the text might be easily read from the outside of the church. As a result, when viewed from inside the church, the words on these two double-paneled windows are seen as a mirror image of themselves.




The lovely chapel area at the south end of the sanctuary also has several windows designed and fabricated by the Willet Studio in 1948-1952.


For a fuller discussion of Westport Presbyterian Church’s history and many larger pictures of its beautiful stained-glass windows, continue on to the Westport Presbyterian Church page elsewhere in this blog. Simply click on the above link to go directly to that page.


Westport’s restored church and windows preserve its important heritage as a place of spiritual inspiration and its dedication to the memories of those who have lovingly contributed to the growth and maintenance of this important community resource.





Posted in 20th Century, Kansas City, Missouri Area, New Testament, Uncategorized, United States, Willet | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments