The Resurrection and the Light Stained-Glass Windows Are as Rich in Symbolism as They Are in Colors
Gutowski, Christy, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Christy Gutowski Daily Herald Staff Writer
The crucifixion of Jesus is an image embedded in our minds.
"So they took Jesus and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side."
Countless artists have aspired to capture the biblical imagery in the words of John.
This scene, as well as the Last Supper, the Nativity, Jesus the healer and the Resurrection, is one of the most commonly depicted in stained-glass windows found in DuPage County churches.
These beautiful windows hold a wealth of symbolism and provide a better understanding of religion. And, to some, a deepening of faith.
The treasures found in the county's roughly 700 churches and synagogues are so inspiring that a visit to your church can be like reading a favorite Bible story.
Or so says Naperville resident John Saxtan.
Saxtan was so overwhelmed by the stained-glass windows, paintings and sculptures at Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in his hometown that he studied every detail.
For about a year, Saxtan sat in the church on Saturday mornings with binoculars and a notepad to examine the windows. He used books about Christian symbolism to research his discoveries further and then put together a booklet.
In his work, Saxtan tells a story that he says summarizes the purpose and beauty of stained-glass windows:
A young man toured many churches several years ago to view the windows. At the end of the tour, a tutor asked him if he knew what a saint was.
The young man replied, "People who the light shines through."
Here is a glimpse at several windows in DuPage where the light shines through.
Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 26 N. Ellsworth, Naperville.
The assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary as she is welcomed into heaven is seen in one of the breathtaking windows found in the transept of the church.
Her long hair, traditionally covered, is shown flowing down her shoulders. Long hair often symbolized virginity.
Her robes are blue and red, the blue representing humanity and the red representing her title as Queen of Martyrs.
Her halo has seven, eight-pointed stars. Seven symbolizes completeness and perfection, and eight shows humanity's regeneration and the Resurrection.
The number of angels who surround her and what they hold and wear all possess symbolic meaning.
"According to Catholic teachings and tradition, Mary was assumed into heaven," Saxtan explains. "That's why you never hear someone claiming to have found the lost tomb of Mary."
According to his findings, the stained-glass windows were created in the mid-1920s in Innsbruck, Austria, after a fire destroyed a previous church. …