Stained Glass Windows

For more than a century, this remarkable collection of stained glass windows has graced generations with its beauty and teachings. They are the high poing for the visitors and parishioners alike. These windows communicate their message of Redemption without the need for words...

The Stained Glass Windows

Essential to the architect and builder August Walbaum's design for Saint Michael were extraordinary, tall, thin windows. The windows have distinctive Romanesque arched tops, accented by massive corbels supporting plasterwork hoods. The repetition of the windows and the columns in this Romaneqsue style is a pleasing harmony as a visitor enters the church.

Inititally, cost prevented the windows from being anything but frosted glass. Without the heat in the church, interior gutters were needed to capture condensation in the frigid Chicago weather. The first set of windows was destroyed in the frigid Chicago weather. The first set of windows was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Another set of frosted glass was put in place for the restored church which was dedicated in 1873. Later in 1878, the parish replaced the second set of windows with a tinted glass set of windows. It wasn't until 1902 when the parish was celebrating the Golden Jubilee that the current stained glass was installed.

The Royal Bavarian Establishment for Ecclesiastical Art was selected to create the main windows of the nave of Saint Michael. (The Royal comes from King Ludwig II of Bavaria). This company was better known at the time as Franz Mayer & COmpany from Munich, Bavaria, Germany. The art form of stained glass was at the zenith. At that time, centuries of knowledge has been accumulated about the craft, the techniques, and the materials and Franz Mater produced the finest stained glass of this time.

Materials are key to the brilliance of these windows. Gold dust achieves the deep red tones, the uranium ore brings out the green color and cobalt provides the beautiful blues of Mary's garnments. The garnments are those of Renaissance Europe with fabrics of rich velvet, brocade and silk, not the garments of Jesus' time.

The current windows are actually the fourth set of windows in St. Michael’s. The church’s design featured tall, thin windows, with Romanesque arched tops. The repetition of the windows and columns provides a pleasing harmony.

The west windows of the nave portray time in the life of our Blessed Mother Mary and are referred to as the Marian Windows. The east windows focus on the events in the life of our Holy Redeemer. Elaborate lavey architecture fills the top of each window. This was not done only for a decorative reason. This design provided Franz Mayer with a more manageable sized area to create the biblical scene. The size and proportions of the windows were very important since Franz Mayer's reputation was for realism and expression.

The Young Jesus Preaching in the Temple

Jesus Blesses the Children


Dinner at the House of Matthew

Sacred Heart


The Ascension


The Presentation of Mary

The Annunciation


Visitation to Elizabeth


Epiphany at the Nativity


The Assumption



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