The Windows Tell a Story
The windows in St. Ambrose Church were crated by Glassart Studios of Scottsdale, Arizona, with Glidden Parker as the principal artist. Work on the windows began in 1964 and was completed in 1966.
Windows on the South side of the Church
As the direction and intensity of the sunlight changes, the mood within the Church also changes. In the early morning and late afternoon, the Church fills with deep, restful color; whereas the mid-day light creates brilliant colors, making the entire Church glow.
Cooler colors at the back of the Church gradually give way to warmer colors near the Alter, symbolically drawing us closer to God’s love. Long sweeping lines flow within each individual window, and connect it to the next, which is connected to the next, and the next, until they create one magnificent window, telling our story from creation to eternal life.
Within the majestic theme of the combined windows are the individual window themes, which speak to us in traditional symbols.
The Individual Windows
The second window represents the Elevation and Fall. On the right side, we see the beauty of the Garden of Eden. Peace and harmony are symbolized by the lion and lamb, and by the ascending Adam and Eve before the Fall. The left side portrays destruction, death, and evil, the end results of our fall from Grace.
The Redemption window tells the story of our Salvation. The Star of David represents the People of Israel, God’s Chosen People, who were given the Ten Commandments and the promise of a Savior. The Annunciation depicts the Angel Gabriel telling Mary she will be the mother of Christ, our Savior. The Nativity Scene shows His humble birthplace. The Redemption culminates in Christ giving Himself completely through His death on the cross.
This window depicts the Apostles. Far right from top are: St. James, killed with a club; St. Simon, a fisherman; St. Jude, travelling by boat. Next are St. Peter, crucified head down; St. Andrew, tied in the form of an X; St. James the Greater with a baptismal shell. Near left shows St. John, boiled in oil; St. Bartholomew with mason’s tools; and St. Matthew. Far left, St. Philip with cross and staff; St. Thomas, a carpenter; and Judas with his pieces of silver.
The window closest to the altar portrays the seven Sacraments. Top right shows Baptism; below it, the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Bottom right symbolizes Anointing of the Sick, while the center panel portrays the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Left is the Sacrament of Confirmation; wheat and grapes signifying the Holy Eucharist; and symbolized by rings and crowns, the Sacrament of Matrimony,
On the north side, nearest the altar, deep, warm colors represent Gods love for us. God dwells in the Eucharist, represented by the wheat and grapes, making Himself available to everyone through the Sacrifice of the Mass. The letters HIS in the Star of Bethlehem are the Greek letter for the name, Jesus.
This window tells us love for God must blossom forth into love for fellow man. Familial love is symbolized by the pelican, and the cross and crown of marriage. Above that is the dove of peace with an olive branch; love of Country is represented by the eagle above a flame. At the very top, the great attempt at love among nations is represented by the symbol of the United Nations.
The eighth window is the Blessed Mother window. Human in all things, she possesses grace and beauty of soul. A model of human perfection, she is portrayed at the top of the window; her many virtues are represented by the flowers. As our inspiration, Mary is pure, kind, and patient; she is considerate, charitable, cheerful, unselfish, joyful, and generous.
The Ecumenical window displays the promotion of unity and cooperation between distinct religious groups or denominations. God loves all men, and we pray that we may one day all live together in His peace. Within this window are the Star of David, representing Judaism; the Crescent and Globe of Mohammedanism; the Yang and Yen of Taoism; the OM, symbol of Hinduism; the Orthos of the Greeks, representing the Orthodox Religions; the Lutheran Rose representing Protestant groups. The Wheel of Buddhism and the Russian Cross are across from the seagulls of Mormonism, and at the bottom is the Episcopalian Shield.