By JEAN CURRAN, Special to the Bulletin | Published September 1, 2016
JASPER—In early August, the last of the 18 vivid stained glass windows and two doors that grace Our Lady of the Mountains Church were installed, and the parish is now ready to show the community the art that decorates their worship space. All are welcome to attend the open house on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Docents will be on hand to guide and answer questions.
The windows were designed and installed by Beyer Studio, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, over the past two years, paid for by donations from the parishioners of the church. The project was completed in four phases, beginning with the Magnificat windows, which were in stalled in fall 2014, in time for the season of Advent. In these windows, Mary and the archangel Gabriel appear against a background of mountain laurel, with cardinals and other common birds of the region in the scene.
The garden windows in the narthex, phase two, were fully installed by July 2015, and include the Easter windows and the Risen Christ.
Phase three, installed earlier this year, includes the four tall windows on either side of the nave. These windows show the early martyrs of the church, including St. Ignatius, St. Perpetua, St. Felicity, St. Lawrence and St. Agnes. These martyrs call to mind the renewed persecution of Christians in the Middle East and around the world.
The 10 smaller windows that surround the transept of the church represent the people of the Old Testament that point to Mary or Jesus, portraits of Deborah, Hannah, Judith, Esther, St. Anne, and others.
These windows that now grace the narthex, church and sanctuary of Our Lady of the Mountains Church represent many things. They are life with all of its triumphs and hardships; they are a Technicolor tour through early history. They are a walk along Southern nature trails with sightings of cardinals, jays, red-headed woodpeckers and whitetail deer beside a flowing stream. The heroic stories portrayed by familiar Biblical figures can be heartrending. It is difficult for any woman to stand in front of the picture of St. Perpetua holding a child and St. Felicity obviously pregnant knowing that their pregnancies were largely spent in prison condemned to death and not be moved. The life-like subjects of the windows, their heroic stories, as well as the familiar flora and fauna of the backgrounds connect with parishioners and visitors alike and turn these works of art into dramatic and powerful representations of history and faith.
The Our Lady of the Mountains parish family seeks to share these precious gifts with the community and surrounding environs, with all who appreciate art and its place in faith and worship.
To learn more about the church, its missions and its vision, please visit “Our Lady of the Mountains” on Facebook or at our website at olmjasper.com.