The third portrait window from the back of the South wall of St. Mary's church in Nanticoke, PA features portraits of Saint Hedwig and Saint Edward. Both stand against the "cathedral" backdrop, discussed previously.
Saint Hedwig has a long and complicated biography, and it would be tedious to try to relate it here. So I direct you to these online sources of information:
- The Catholic Encyclopedia entry for St. Hedwig
- Catholic Online's brief biographical sketch of St. Hedwig
- An even briefer outline of St. Hedwig from the Patron Saints Index
- St. Hedwig's Wikipedia entry
What is that object?
To a kid, certain things about this images stuck out: Monsters. Weapons. Toys. Saint Hedwig holds what I always thought of as a toy schoolhouse, maybe even a toy church. Why? As I began my research I assumed that she was responsible for the founding of schools or construction of churches. But I am not seeing that. Instead it seems that she was heavily involved in the founding of monasteries. Is this object meant to represent a monastery?
And what did she do to earn a crown? Certain portraits show saints wearing crowns, while others do not. Is there a code here, like the alleged code involving the number of horse's legs that are raised in a statue? Or could this simply be in recognition of her status as a Duchess of Silesia?
The second portrait seems a little more straightforward: St. Edward the Confessor was a king of England, renowned (if the stories are to be believed) for his healing touch. Unfortunately, he was also uncle to St. Edward the Martyr, who was also king of England. Which one is this? I have no idea. The youthful appearance could mark him as the latter, who was only sixteen or seventeen when he died. The spear could be a clue - Edward the Martyr died, according to one account, due to injuries received in a stabbing by an assassin while he was visiting his wicked stepmother during a hunt. Have a look at this source material and see if you can figure it out:
- The Catholic Encyclopedia entry for St. Edward the Confessor
- Catholic Online's biographical sketch of St. Edward the Confessor
- Patron Saints Index entry for St. Edward the Confessor
- Wikipedia entry for St. Edward the Confessor
- The Catholic Encyclopedia entry for St. Edward the Martyr
- Catholic Online's biographical sketch of St. Edward the Martyr
- Patron Saints Index entry for St. Edward the Martyr
- Wikipedia entry for St. Edward the Martyr
The upper round window is the one I have dubbed the "Temple." The calligraphy on the scroll at the bottom is not readable in this image.
The person who presented both of these windows has a name immediately familiar to the people of Nanticoke: K.M. Smith, the namesake of the K.M. Smith Elementary School. Unfortunately, almost all references to "K.M. Smith" that I can find online refer to this school, not to the person. I may need to go to the Nanticoke Historical Society for more information.