Writing advice, publication opportunities, and thoughts on books, language, and life from Donna Volkenannt, winner of the Erma Bombeck Humor Award. Donna believes great stories begin in a writer's imagination and touch a reader's heart.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Beautiful Missouri: Saints and Sinners in Stained Glass
When I started this blog, my purpose was to post about writing,
books, publishing, and life’s sweet mysteries – and to avoid politics and
divisive or controversial topics.
But the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri – just
twenty miles away from my home – are impossible to ignore.
However, rather than commenting on the heartbreaking situation and disturbing images coming out of Ferguson, I’ve decided to post some beautiful images that can be found in my beloved home state of Missouri.
Earlier this summer, my sister Kathleen and I took a day trip through Osage County. Our tour was called “Gospels in Glass,” which included traveling to several churches in Osage County -- and one across the county line in Maries County.
Sacred Heart, Rich Fountain
Our on-the-bus tour guides were Ken Luebbering and Robyn Burnett, whose guide book, “Gospels in Glass: Stained Glass Windows in Missouri Churches,” published by Pebbles Publishing,was included in our tour price. Pebbles Publishing, a small press located in Rocheport, specializes in books about Missouri heritage, travel and adventure.
The 144-page Gospels in Glass depicts stained glass windows in churches and synagogues throughout Missouri—from Cape Girardeau to St. Joseph; St. Louis to Kansas City; and St. Patrick to Carthage.
During our trip, we got a sampling of the many artistic displays in the book, as well others not found in the book. We also learned about the rich history of German settlements in Missouri; Ken and Robyn also wrote German Settlement in Missouri: New Land, Old Ways (University of Missouri Press).
We learned about iconography and symbolism, techniques for creating stained glass, snippets of information about the artists, and some history of the Emil Frei Company in St. Louis, which is known nationally and internationally for its stained glass craftsmanship.
Churches included in our tour were:
* Sacred Heart Church in Rich Fountain, founded in 1838. The parish’s German and farming heritage was evident by windows of German saints, such as St. Gertrude, the patron saint invoked against rodents.
Standing at the front of the high altar, Ken explained the significance of the Sacrifice of Melchizedek and “Abraham’s Sacrifice” on opposite sides of the altar.
St. Joseph, Westphalia
Draped over the wooden pews were the hand-made quilts that were to be auctioned off at the parish picnic.
* St. Joseph in Westphalia, with stained glass windows of many saints, including: St. Hubert, St. Conrad with the spider on his chalice, and St. Herman holding the Christ Child.
We learned about the legend of the pelican and significance of sacrifice in church iconography, not just Catholic, but also Protestant.
* Holy Family in Freeburg, called the “The Cathedral of the Ozarks,” which, we were told by the pastor, is the last church in Missouri with Twin Spires.
The abstract representations of grapes and wheat allowed vibrant light to flow through the windows.
* Visitation Church in Vienna in Maries County, with its less-traditional windows that are technically different from those earlier in the day.Although several of the windows were out for repairs, the ones we saw were lovely.
This is just a small sample of the beautiful images throughout Missouri, although I’m certain if you look, you can find beauty everywhere – not only in churches, stained glass windows, or handmade quilts, but also in nature – and in residents of the Show Me State.
Visitation, Maries County
How about you? Where can you find some beautiful images in Missouri?