So Many Goodbyes: the windows at St. Margaret Mercy

Today we celebrated what will likely be the last Mass in the chapel at Franciscan Health Hammond. The hospital, just south of St. Joseph, is downsizing, and much of the building will be torn down. It is a painful transition for all of us whose lives have been entwined with the institution for many years. I snapped quick photos of the stained glass windows, which, like the windows at St. Joe’s, were crafted in Germany, probably about a century ago. These windows show the same artistry in brushwork — paint layered onto the glass to create detail — and in composition: lifelike figures in dynamic poses; 3-D perspective; Romanesque architectural elements in the background.

I especially like this window, showing Franciscan saints gathered beneath Mary with the child Jesus…

East window, chapel, Franciscan Health Hammond, September, 2021.

…On the lower left is St. Bonaventure, one of the Church’s greatest theologians. The red hat at his knees shows that he was also a cardinal. He was a contemporary of Thomas Aquinas in the 1200’s, studied at the same university in Paris. He is the equal of Thomas in the scope and coherence of his theological synthesis. It may be fair to say that he surpasses Thomas in the literary quality of his work. He is less well known, however, perhaps because he left brick-and-mortar academia in the middle of his career to become the leader of the young Franciscan order. He steered the community through stressful times, overseeing its growth into an enduring institution. Six hundred years later, the global Franciscan community brought us St. Margaret hospital.

Detail from the east window, chapel at Franciscan Health Hammond, September, 2021: St. Bonaventure

The two remaining large windows show Jesus healing the many people who flocked to him during his earthly ministry…

Sanctuary window, chapel at Franciscan Health Hammond, September, 2021.

…and the Ascension…

West window, chapel at Franciscan Health Hammond, September, 2021.

…and here is a smaller window depicting the birth of Jesus.

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