The stained glass windows
During the relocation, the original stained glass windows adorning the front of the church were re-used by the Presbyterian community for their new chapel situated on Sherbrooke street. To replace them, a new stained glass window was produced by master glass-maker Francis Chigot (1879-1960) from Limoges. Well-known for his work influenced by Art nouveau and Art Deco, he is also the creator of the historic stained glass windows of the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal. However, the centerpiece of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus dates back further to 1874 as it was taken from the previous college chapel. It was created and offered by the workshops of Carmen at Mans. It appears to be one of only two contributions from the Carmel of Mans workshop to the architectural heritage in North America.
Archive secrets on the transept windows
In 1932, Father Cousineau of the Sainte-Croix congregation received a letter from German glassmaker Karl Diemand containing a list of subjects for the transept stained glass windows. In 1933, he received another letter from Francis Chigot for the right transept. However, it appears that these projects were abandoned as the transept windows do not have any stained glass!
Here is a short video of one of our restoration of the stained glass windows of the museum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYSdi5t7e_c
The west stained glass window
A stained glass window dedicated to the Virgin Mary
Father Basile Antoine Moreau (1799-1873), the founder of the congregation of Sainte-Croix, had a particular devotion to Mary. He stated that: “A follower of Christ is also that of his mother, who he worships at the foot of the cross. It is to her that we send our morning greetings and our last words of the evening, and it is by her everlasting care that the renewed devotion on the month of Mary is present in Saint-Sulpice.” Mary has, therefore, become the patron saint of the congregation. In the center of the stained glass window, she wears a crown as queen of the congregation and appears on a cloud to represent her Assumption.
The saints surrounding the Virgin Mary
If the daises (windows) behind the saints are in the same form as that of the Virgin Mary, it suggests that these four saints have a special relationship with her, be it temporal or spiritual. The evangelists Luke and John, who are positioned closest, were close contemporaries of Mary. Saint John greeted the Virgin Mary after Christ was brought down from the cross. Jesus had said to his mother: “Mother, here is your son” and to the apostle: “John, here is your mother.” Saint Luke is the first portraitist of Mary (note the quill which he holds in his hand). As for Saint Dominic and Saint Bernard, from the middle ages, they are spiritually connected to the Virgin Mary. Saint Dominic is holding a Lilly (symbol of Marian purity) and has a star above his head as the Virgin Mary appeared to him. Saint Bernard is the founder of the Cistercians of which Mary is the model example of spiritual life.
The window contains an anachronic detail … Can you find it?
Saint Dominic is wearing work boots. This is a humoristic insight dedicated to the workmen that contributed to the reconstruction of the church.
There are four symbolic messages. Would you be able to decipher them?
- speculum justitiae (mirror of justice)
- vas honorabile (vase of honour)
- stella matutina (morning star)
- janua coeli (doors of paradise)
Finally, examine the inscriptions in the lower right corner of the Virgin and Child and Saint Bernard panels.