Stained Glass

stainedglassdiagram

The stained glass windows were designed by the famed Willet Stained Glass Studios in Philadelphia. The windows are done in the grisaille style; stained glass that is painted in monochromatic colors. This style was specifically selected in order for natural light to be the main source of light in the chapel. The translucent light grey background also foregrounds the vibrant colors of the central figure. The chapel is most notable for its depiction of all female religious figures.  Each window is comprised of a lancet, which contains the figure of the saint, and a predella, the bottom square which shows a scene from her life.   

The Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus at Rosemont College selected the Saints to be included and had very definite opinions about how they should appear.  Mother Mary Cleophas, the President of Rosemont College at the time, carried out a lengthy correspondence with Henry Willett offering feedback and criticism about the proposed design windows. They discussed the selection and exact appearance of the Saints including the facial expressions, clothing, and appropriate icons. We have included information or direct quotations from this correspondence whenever possible.  Because the symbolism and iconography of the saints has evolved over the centuries, it is not always readily apparent why the Saints appear as they do in the Chapel windows.  Where the source of imagery is known, we have included that information as well.  A letter from Mother Mary Cleophas mentioning “Mrs. Jameson” led us to Anna Jameson, Legends of the Monastic Orders, as Represented in the Fine Arts (1886), as well as Sacred and Legendary Art (1865), the latter found on the shelves of Rosemont College’s Kistler library.