Friday, December 21, 2012


So now its decision time.  What do these three windows mean?  Here are some conclusions gathered from your comments and from my resource books.  There were no difinitive guesses but you did help me shed much light on the mysteries of these windows.

To begin, what is that green thing at the bottom of this first window?  I was standing in the hallway at the time when a lady in the parish said rather matter of factly, "Those are figs" as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.  But you know what?  It seems to make sense.  The most common perception is that this first window has to do with things of the Old Testament.  So let's try to sew the whole thing together.  A snake (or serpent) is obviously something to do with evil.  Let us suppose for the moment that it is the devil from Genesis.  A torch (when it is not representing Christ or the Church as the light of the world) is a symbol of betrayal for Judas came after Jesus with "lanterns, torches, and weapons."  Figs are often substituted for the apple when symbolizing the fall of man because "they sewed fig leaves together for clothing."  The scroll represents the Old Testament and in the dove seems to represents the action of God throughout the church windows.
There seems to be common agreement on this window representing Christ as King and Victor over death.
Finally here we have the Gospel book and a lamp which is most often a symbol of wisdom and piety.  The dove is once again the action of God in the world.
So here is what I am thinking (wink'n and nod.)  At the least the three window represent the three major stages of our faith: before Christ, at the time of Christ, and the world after Christ.  We could take it a bit further and say the state of man mired in original sin, redeemed by Christ, and now living in Christ.  This might work since it is also just down the hall from what used to be the baptismal font. 
Anyway that is what I think.  With this final bit of information if you have any other ideas please let me know otherwise this is what I am going to put in my description of the symbolism of the parish.  Thanks for the help!
Now, here is a mystery that finally figured out but I'll give you a week to guess.  This one I am sure of.
I presented this a couple of years ago and nobody could figure it out.  It is obvious that these shelves were added later in the history of the parish.  Sticking out under the top shelf is a green marble block obviously built into the wall at about mid thigh.  It has an indentation at the top like a holy water font for dipping you finger in only that unless you are five years old, one would have to bend pretty far over to do so.  Nobody has been able to figure this out.  The best guess was that is was for people in wheelchairs but that doesn't make any sense since this door only had a ramp installed years after the building was built.
This past year I discovered this!  It is on the opposite side of the wall in the confessional (not where the priest sits but where the penitent is.
This is what the door looks like open.  Though it doesn't look like it here, it is several inches in depth.
This is the final clue.
Did you get it?  Answer next week.


Heather said...

That's where the people with very bad confessions have to do their penance.

Anonymous said...

Intercom/phone box?

Kevin Hammer said...

In the 1st window, could the fruit be olives and not figs?

I think your windows were done by the same artist that created windows for the former Providence Hospital in Sandusky, photos here:

Is the wall-font thing a lavabo? (somehow recalled that word from our sacristan)

MaryofSharon said...

These are really tough!

Can you tell us what is on the other side of that brick wall behind the confessional door? (Why would there be brick in an interior wall?)

The best I can come up with is that there was some kind of device for the hard of hearing there, either for the hard-of-hearing penitent or perhaps for a particular hard-of-hearing priest. According to this article, back in the day, the hard-of-hearing had to manage their confessions by writing. Perhaps it housed "The Confessionaire" Confessional Hearing Aid. This is plausible since The Confessionaire is guessed to have been produced around the same time the church was built. On the other hand, I'm not sure it is in the right location for it to have worked (might have had to be on the wall between the priest and the penitent).

Never thought about the challenges of confession for the hard-of-hearing in the old days or even now, if they want to remain somewhat anonymous. There must be lots of stories, frustrating, sad, and one would hope, for the good-humored, amusing.

I have to wonder why that space wasn't just sealed up altogether. Why leave a door there if the space wasn't going to be used? Someone could plant a bug there. Lots of potential for intrigue!