Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In a different light

I was able to get some decent images of the twelve major stained glass windows at St. Mary's Church in Nanticoke this past Sunday. The one above is of St. Hedwig and St. Edward (also known as King Edward the Confessor.) To get the image full length and relatively undistorted I had to take the picture from the central aisle of the church, while bracing myself against the pews - something that would not have been possible if I were not the only person taking advantage of the open Day of Prayer at 1:00 on Sunday afternoon. (And yes, I did spend some time in prayer before, during, and after the taking of these photos.)

These full-length images capture every major part of the windows, which is what I was trying to accomplish. I don't know if there are technical names for each of these parts, but if there are I expect I shall be learning them over the next few weeks. In the meantime I'll just use my own terms.

For now I want to focus on the lower part of the window, which is where the sponsor tag is included when it is actually still attached to the window.

This window - well, pair of windows - has a single tag that extends across both windows and reads "PRESENTED BY" (under St. Hedwig) and "K.M. SMITH" (under St. Edward.) Anyone familiar with Nanticoke will recognize the name K.M. Smith, which has been memorialized in the K.M. Smith school located just a few blocks from St. Mary's church. Unfortunately, references to the school dominate the results for any online search for "K.M. Smith," so I may have to resort to more old-fashioned means of investigation. The Nanticoke Historical Society may be able to help me locate information on this donor, as well as information on other donors (like "WILLIAM EVANS") whose names are not distinct enough (like, for example, "F.H. KOHLBRAKER") to provide a clean hit online.

I made a quick attempt to gather the names of the window donors / sponsors / presenters on Saturday evening after Mass, but by then the light had faded enough that I needed to use my flash to get the images. Which meant that I captured images of the windows by reflected, rather than transmitted, light. So while the image above shows what the bottom of the St. Edward window looked like with the sun shining through it at 1:20 on Sunday afternoon, here's what that same window looked like at 6:30 Saturday evening:

Notice the very unsubtle stripes of color, particularly in the middle of the row of five tablet-shaped panes, and how these fade to nuances and subtle distinctions of color once the sun shines through. I never did like seeing these windows after sunset, or when the sun was clouded over. But as a kid I served plenty of evening Masses and Masses on rainy days, so I got to see these windows under all different lighting conditions.

(Note for the uninitiated: "ORA PRO NOBIS", which can be seen under most (possibly all) of the images of the saints, is Latin for "Pray for us." While many outsiders believe that Catholics treat saints as a pantheon of demigods and pray directly to them, in reality Catholics pray only for the intercession of the saints - they ask the saint to put in a good word for them with the Big Guy. I know that saints are not unique to the Catholic church, though I have no idea how other Christian sects deal with the relationship of the individual to the saint.)


Isis the Scientist said...

Ora pro nobis, indeed, D.B. These are, once again, lovely pictures. I am really enjoying this series of churched. Dr. Isis has recently obtained herself a chapel veil and is attending Tridentine mass. I suppose I'm kind of into old timey mass lately.

hedera said...

The lighting difference is amazing, but I kind of like the flashlight shot. It looks like marble inlays.