The Stained Glass Windows of St. Ann Catholic Church
Written and Photographed by Dan Pater.
From January 1938 to October 1939, according to the recently recovered ledger entitled St. Ann New Church Acc’t 1936-1937, six payments were made by Fr. Lehman to Emil Frei Stained Glass Company in St. Louis, Missouri, for a total of $10,994.00.
The windows may be said to be in an art deco style. It is presently unknown who decided upon that approach. Unconfirmed oral tradition suggests that Fr. Lehman sought European models for the new church. It is known that the Cincinnati architect, Edward Schulte, tended to infuse simplified versions of classic forms with modern expressions such as art deco, so there may be a connection there. Some have commented on the rich dark and almost monochromatic effect of many of the windows. Recent telephone conversations with Stephen Frei, the great-grandson of the company’s founder, Emil Frei, Sr. (1869-1942), and grandson of Emil, Jr. (1896-1967), states that this “darkness” was part of the Company’s style in those years.
Stained glass windows are traditionally a devotional and catechetical part of the church, along with the sculpture and painting, an aspect of the “poor man’s bible” that was designed into the great churches of mediaeval churches of Europe and the Near East. The introduction to the stained-glass windows is developed in this approach in mind. Note not only the dense, multi-layered symbolism of the windows, but also the way that elements (chi-rho, fish, plants) recur frequently from window to window, in an almost symphonic and unifying way. Words and text appearing in the windows is shown in CAPITAL letters.
Any further research might be usefully pursued at the Missouri History Society, Historical Society Division of Library and Archives, Jefferson Memorial Building, Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri 63112.
Joseph, a descendant of King David, the husband of Mary, foster father of Jesus, was obedient to the will of God through the prompting of the Holy Spirit and is pre-eminent among the saints.
We know little about Joseph apart from the narratives of the conception and birth of Jesus in the Gospels (Matt 1-2; Luke 1-2 ). Other legends about him are found in the apocryphal Proto-gospel of James and History of Joseph the Carpenter. Special devotion to Joseph first developed in the Eastern Church and soon grew in the West. One who fostered such devotion was St. Francis De Sales (1567-1622), patron saint of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. (His image as a Doctor of the Church is on the wooden reredos behind the main altar.)
In the mullioned sections above the main window are the words “WORK” (left) and “PRAY” (right). These words (also used as a motto by St. Benedict and the religious order he founded) remind us that the son-in-law of St. Anne is the patron saint of workers and also protector of the universal Church.
“JOSEPH” is holding a model of St. Ann Church in his hands and is surrounded by symbols of his endurance and patience (acorns, oak leaves) and purity (lily). Also, the tools of Joseph’s trade as carpenter are portrayed: a saw, a square and a hammer.
Superimposed above the saw is a “wooden” CHI-RHO (X and R are first Greek letters of the name ‘Christ’) and, directly below, an M surmounted by a crown encircling a fleur-de-lis, for Mary’s purity and heavenly queenship. Thus the entire Holy Family is present in symbolic form.
The marriage of Mary and Joseph was full of prayer and work, which accomplished the will and plan of God. This is represented by the divine hand over joined rings and teaches the means and end of holy families.
“PRAY WORK” is repeated at the bottom of the window, and next to this is an hour-glass, suggesting the wise use of time on these two hinges of the Christian life, so well exemplified by Joseph and those who are under his protection in the ChurchThroughout the window here and there are the repeated motifs of oak leaf, acorn and lily. At the very bottom of the window is a shape that might be a stylized fish, or perhaps even a plane.
The top left mullioned section carries the Greek word LOGOS, or “Word”, which identifies Jesus Christ as the incarnate second Person of the Holy Trinity (John 1), the Father’s creative Word (Wisdom 8). In the right mullioned section there is an ornate chalice from which springs the “chi-rho” (which looks here like a crossed “P” but often looks like a X and superimposed P), made of the two first two letters of “Christ” in Greek, XPISTOS. Behind the chalice is a sprig of wheat, referring to the Eucharist as the Church’s link to the life of the Holy Trinity.
“SAINT ANNE”, the mother of Mary, mother of Jesus, is labeled in the main window. Above her head, in the highest point of the main window, shines a star, indicating her holiness and divine favor. The elderly mother (note the wizened face and hands) extends her hands over her youthful daughter Mary, who has her own right hand raised in blessing while the left touches the child Jesus, easily identified by the unique halo he bears in all windows. His hands in turn present a representation of “THE MYSTERY OF THE HOLY MASS” in a circular, host-like scene of the crucifixion. This host stands above another ornate chalice, on the cup of which is represented the scene of the Pietà, which shows Mary holding the body of her crucified Son (indicated by “IHS”, the first three letters of Jesus’ name in Greek: IHSOUS) after His deposition from the cross. St. John looks on from the right. The Mother of the Word shared in the passion of Christ.
Below this symbolic scene is a large stylized representation of the Holy Spirit as a dove (Matt 3:16=Mark 1:10=Luke 3:22=John 1:32). The Paraclete hovers over four bearded faces in very small scale at the very bottom of the window, the evangelists, each with a hand raised in witness to the Truth.
The window’s periphery has various symbolic plants and animals. The pomegranate to the right of Anne’s face suggests her spiritual and physical fruitfulness, recalling her story from the apocryphal Proto-Gospel of James, which recounts how God granted her and Joachim a child in their old age, not unlike Sts Elizabeth and Zachary, the parents of John the Baptist. The oak leaves show her strength and endurance during times of trial and suffering. The lilies around the Virgin portray her beauty and purity. The vines and shafts of wheat indicate the spiritual nourishment of our sacramental food and drink. To the left of chalice are a caterpillar and butterfly, clearly referring to the transformation of death into life by the resurrection of Jesus himself and of His Faithful. Spiritual transformation through Baptism is shown by water and breathing fish directly below the butterfly. PAX reminds that the redemptive sacrifice and its renewal in the Mass brings peace between God and man though the work of Anne’s grandson.
The window is a profound interplay of literal and symbolic representation and meaning. Although dedicated to St. Anne it is clearly Christo-centric. No greater honor can be shown St. Anne and to Mary than to consider their central roles, through piety, faith and obedience, in bringing about our salvation by the incarnation of the Word of God. St. Anne bore Mary, who bore Jesus, from whose side, in water and blood, springs the Church, whose sons and daughters we are in by the Holy Mass.
Simeon is the righteous man who, in the Gospel according to Luke, comes to the temple under the impulsion of the Holy Spirit and recognizes the infant Jesus, brought to the temple for His circumcision, as the Messiah and consolation of Israel.
Simeon is shown here with seven flames around his head, probably a reference to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (see below). He carries the child Jesus in his arms (Luke 2:28) when he declares his canticle, the Nunc Dimittis (“Now, Lord, you may dismiss your Servant…”), which the Liturgy of the Hours (Breviary) uses each day for Compline (Night Prayer).
Mary and Joseph are present, as the Gospel tells of them wondering at the things which are said of Jesus. Simeon blesses Joseph and Mary and prophesies to Jesus’ mother: “Behold, this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; AND THY OWN HEART [A] SWORD SHALL PIERCE that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35, slightly modified Douay Rheims version). Mary will suffer when Jesus suffers and dies.
The youthful Mary, unveiled and with a barrette in her hair, the sword of Simeon’s foretelling at her breast. Joseph, below Mary, is shown with his shepherd’s crook as the protector and guide of the Holy Family.
Around the window are various symbols: the lily of purity, the crown of queenship, another smaller sword or dagger of Mary’s share in her Son’s Passion, a column of the Temple, a tiny crucifixion scene next to the word PIERCE, with Mary and St John.
The seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, mentioned above in reference to the inspiration of Simeon, are based on the Latin version of Isaiah 11:2-3, not the nine-fold community-oriented charisms of 1 Corinthians 12-14 or the twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. They are: Wisdom (right judgment especially of truth in divine things), Understanding (“common sense” perfects speculative reasoning in seeing truth by self-evident principles), Counsel (prudent response), Fortitude (courage, which allows strength of character for doing good, avoiding evil, and enduring difficulty), Knowledge (not only of information, but its right interpretation and use), Piety (reverence, worship and duty to God) and Fear of the Lord (wonder and awe of God, repugnance at offending him by sin, belief in his justice and judgment).
Simeon’s prophesy is the first of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. The others are the flight to Egypt, losing Jesus in Jerusalem, meeting Jesus on the way to Calvary, standing at the foot of the Cross, Jesus’ descent from the Cross, and Jesus’ burial.
The early Church Fathers elaborated on this theme. St. Justin Martyr (+165): “Christ became a man by a virgin to overcome the disobedience caused by the serpent ...in the same way it had originated.” (Dialogue with Trypho). St. Ireneus, Bishop of Lyons, (+202) : “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosened by Mary’s obedience. The bonds fastened by the virgin Eve through disbelief were untied by the virgin Mary through faith.” (Adv. Haereses3:22). St. Ambrose of Milan (+397): “It was through a man and woman that flesh was cast from paradise; it was through a virgin that flesh was linked to God.” St. Jerome (+420) : “Death through Eve, Life through Mary.” (Ep. 22,21).
The imagery in the Window is of the Immaculate Conception, the dogma that “from the first moment of her conception the Blessed Virgin Mary was, by the singular grace and privilege of Almighty God and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of humanity, kept free from all stain of original sin”. In fact, the proofs from tradition for this dogma, declared by Pius IX on Dec. 8, 1854 in Ineffabilis Deus, hearken back to the patristic texts cited above regarding Mary as the New Eve. The lily above Mary, carrying the child Jesus, signifies her purity. The crown shows she is queen of heaven. The star refers to many of her titles in her Litanies, such as “Star of the Sea”, “Morning Star”. These symbols and other plants of the Garden of Eden are repeated throughout the window. Note also the flowered “M”. The Virgin’s ornately shod foot treads on Satan (Gen 3:15) even as he hides behind the figure of the deceiving serpent (Gen 3:1) tempting Eve into taking the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:17; 3:6).
Pope Pius XII wrote: “Mary, in the work of Redemption, was by God’s
If Eve’s name means she is the ‘mother of all the living’ (Gen 3:20), Mary is especially so through our redemption to eternal life completed by her son Jesus.
Holy Family / Incarnation
The mullioned sections show a priestly stole (Holy Orders)and a jar of ointment labeled OI (Oleo Infirmorum= ‘Oil of the Sick’; Anointing of the Sick). These also symbolize Christ, prophesied as priest of sacrifice (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:5; Hebrews 9:11) and anointed king, the Messiah (which is the Hebrew for Christ, “anointed one”; Mark 15:32, Luke 23:2).
Mary holds the infant Jesus and blesses with one hand raised. The lilies around her symbolize her purity. Facing her from the right is Joseph, holding a saw and hammer as the tools of carpentry.
Below Joseph, the Eternal Father’s divine hand blesses Matrimony in Mary and Joseph (see the symbolic rings). The keys show the Church’s power to forgive sins coming from Jesus’ sacrifice and exercised in Penance. Below these, at right, is either the not-yet incarnate Son of God, kneeling in obedience to the Father (Philippians 2) or, more probably, Mary kneeling at the Annunciation. A ray of light proceeds downward to the scene (Luke 1:26), where the angel Gabriel at left, sent by God (note the Father’s divine hand) addresses the Virgin lower in the right window. Upon Mary’s acceptance of the message the ray of light from the angel to her light underlines this moment when God’s Son becomes Mary’s child. Within her is the sign of the Holy Trinity (DEUS = God; P = Pater = Father; F = Filius = Son; S = Spiritus = Holy Spirit).
Right of the announcing Gabriel is the host (bearing Jesus’ unique halo), chalice and grapes representing the continued re-presentation of His bloody sacrifice in the unbloody Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass.
Further down, at left, is the Holy Spirit as dove over the hand that pours the water of Baptism, which flows onto Jesus, still as a child, playing with alphabet blocks, like children of the Church who are baptized and receive Confirmation.
To the right a ram reminds of Abraham who, prefigures God’s infinite love, as willing to sacrifice his only son. Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb of God.
The fish around the bottom may have various meanings: Baptism of the Faithful who, like fish, live by water; Jesus was symbolized in the early Church by a fish (the Greek word ‘ichthous’ makes an acrostic, “Jesus Son of God, Savior”); the Faithful, entrusted by Christ to the Church whose visible head, the Pope, is the successor of Peter as “fisher of men.”
In the mullioned upper parts we see a sorrowful face, perhaps of God, angry at the sin of mankind, and whose tears pour into a heart shape containing Noah’s ark on the flood. The right side the Almighty sends down the rain. In the third tiny part are the orb and scepter of Jesus’ authority.
“HE HATH GIVEN HIM [authority] TO DO JUDGMENT” (John 5:27) indicates Jesus with the hand of the Father above Him conferring this power. The divine hand is surrounded by the waters of the upper firmament (possibly a continuation of water theme of the mullioned section) in which fish are swimming here and throughout the window. Between Christ’s folded arms are a tiny cross, anchor and flame, symbols of the theological virtues Faith Hope and Charity, which are illustrated below along with their opposite vices.
“FAITH” is illustrated by the crucifix reverenced by two figures, a larger bearded face with hand in ornate sleeve and one smaller kneeling naked man (who may be the good thief of Luke 23:40-43). In contrast, to the right is the golden calf of “IDOL WORSHIP” (Exodus 32) and a worshipper of this false god.
“HOPE” is represented by Jesus’ descent into hell (Zechariah 9:11; Ephesians 4:9-10) to free the just patriarchs, prophets and kings of the Old Testament. In partial view behind Jesus there is a part of the broken-down grate or door of hell seen in many representations of this scene.
The two keys indicate the powers of the keys given to the Church as an extension of the power of Christ to forgive and loose sins in Heaven and on earth (Matthew 16:19; 18:18).
Next to the key we see an enigmatic haloed figure, which by proximity
Further down, the Father’s hand is once more over Christ who points to a poor person (Lazarus) to be treated as His brother and sister (Matthew 25:40) through “LOVE”. By contrast “GREED” is shown in the mustached and bearded rich man (Dives) with a big bag of money (Luke 16). These Jesus will separate on the last day, like sheep and goats (Matt 25:31-46).
Above Peter’s head the hand of God blesses and shows the divine source of Peter’s authority, given by the Father to Jesus (Matt 28:18) and entrusted by Jesus to Peter (Matt 16:16). Peter heard the voice of the Father at Jesus’ Transfiguration (Matt 17:5-6; 2 Pt 1:17-18), which artistically is often symbolized by this same image, as in the baptism of Jesus.
The Church is often portrayed as Peter’s boat, rocked on the stormy sea of earthly turmoil. However, security and hope are present in the 3 anchors (representing the Trinity or the Theological Virtues?). One can consider comparing this to Noah’s ark, as well.
At the bottom of the window are the loaves and fishes of the Gospel (Matt 14/Mk 6/ Lk 9/Jn 6), along with, opposite the anchors, grape clusters “dropping” into a chalice. This shows the sacramental life of the Church. The baptized are nourished in the Eucharist by the risen Jesus, the “Fish of the living” (note the air bubbles coming from the fish’ mouth; cfr Tertullian, Augustine and other Church Fathers): note the distinctive halo of Christ around the fish, and the identifying CHI-RHO). Peter fulfills Christ’s command to baptize all the nations (Matt 28:19) and to renew His sacrifice in memory of Him (I Corinthians 11:23-26).
Peter, then, is shown in this veritable catechism as the bridge-maker (pontifex) between Heaven and Earth, as Christ’s Vicar who leads the believer through troubles to the Father, anchoring the Church’s virtue in her sacraments.
The mullioned upper sections carry Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, which the Lord God uses three times in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13) to call Himself “the beginning and the end”. In the smaller section is a kind of stylized pine tree, perhaps the cedar of Lebanon, an image of the just person flourishing in the Church (Psalm 92:12). More literally, they are the great trees from which Solomon built the first Temple (1 Kings 5:6)
The Church is represented as a youthful woman, royally attired and crowned. Above her head are the three joined rings of the Holy Trinity, in Whose life She participates by taking up the cross (Matthew 16:24), which is shown at Her right side.
Around Her shoulders is a garland or stole which extends down the middle of the window. It is made up of an alternating pattern of grape leaves and grape clusters, again associating the arts with the liturgy. As usual, the artist has placed oak leaves through the window, signifying strength, patience and perseverance, this time of the Church and her Faithful through the centuries.
From top to bottom, below the figured of the Church, there are four male figures labeled as “ARCHITECTURE”, “SCULPTURE”, “PAINTING” and by stylized chant, which signifies MUSIC, of course.
Each figure is holding or is surrounded by some of the tools of his trade. The architect is shown with a hammer, a triangle and a square. The sculptor holds a large chisel, with another one shown across from him. The painter holds a big paintbrush. The musician holds what may be a flute, while there is another one there, along with a harp. Note the metronome, referring to the need for rhymn and skill. “The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.” (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium Ch. 6, n. 112)
“Those who perceive in themselves this kind of divine spark which is the artistic vocation as poet, writer, sculptor, musician, and actor feel at the same time the obligation not to waste this talent but to develop it, in order to put it to service of their neighbor and of humanity as a whole. (Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 3)
Christ is shown as LUX MUNDI, “The Light of the World” (John 8:12; 9:5). Above His head is the Star of David (Rev 22:16, cf also Num. 24: Matt. 2:2, 7, 9f; 2 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 2:28; 9:1; 22:16), to the right are an
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS, with quill in hand, stands in the act of composing the most famous and most influential of his many works, the SUMMA THEOLOGICA, his “Summary of Theology”, which for centuries was the touchstone of orthodoxy and the fundamental text of priestly formation, and the accepted basis of much of modern Roman Catholic teaching. After St. Paul and St. Augustine there are few, if any, to rival Thomas Aquinas’ immense influence on Christian Doctrine. Saint Thomas, for all his intellectual genius in using ancient philosophy (mainly the then newly re-discovered Aristotle) to enlighten Catholic belief, was keenly aware of the sharp distinction between human reason and the grace of faith. St. Thomas taught that the existence of God, His eternity, His creative power and providence can be discerned through natural reason, apart from revelation (cfr Romans 1). On the other hand, many fundamental Christian truths, such as the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation and the resurrection of the body are mysteries which lie beyond the limits of rational understanding. They come to us revealed through the Scriptures and consistent teaching Tradition of the Fathers and Magisterium of the Church. While human understanding of truth is the province of the mind, the acceptance of mystery in faith belongs to the will to believe. These intellectual and moral acts of the Christian constantly seek harmony and mutual fulfillment and nourishment.
A clear example of the way in which St. Thomas’ light brightly shines in the Church today is found in the Eucharistic hymns taken from his Office for the Feast of Corpus Christi: Adore Te devote (“Humbly We Adore Thee”), O Salutaris Hostia (“O Saving Victim”), Pange Lingua (“Sing My Tongue the Savior’s Glory”), particularly its last verses, the Tantum Ergo. Thomas taught wonderfully of the seven Sacraments of the Church as instituted by Christ which confer grace. The Eucharist, to which he was especially devoted, is the “Sacrament of Sacraments”. As a faithful disciple of Jesus and His Church, Thomas is a true light in the Church for the world.
In the mullioned upper parts are two balancing scales for law and justice, which hearken to St Paul’s contrast between the Laws of the Old and New Testaments. The scale on the left hangs from a sword (punishment, death), while that on the right hands from the cross (Jesus takes up the punishment due by the Law to give us life). God used Moses to give the Old Law where transgression leads to punishment; Jesus is the giver of the New Law, where transgression is forgiven through repentance and faith in Jesus brings life.
Moses is shown holding the Ten Commandments given to him by God on the mountain referred to as “Mount Sinai” (Exodus 19:23) or “Horeb” (Deuteronomy 5:2) in the form of two stone tablets. Here the commandments are divided unevenly: the first three having to do with obligations to God are on the one tablet, the other seven, treating duties to neighbors and society, are on the other.
The Star of David above a five-pointed crown bearing the five nails for the five wounds of Christ links the unity of the two Testaments: Jesus is the Son of King David, heir to God’s promises to his descendants in the flesh.
The soldier standing menacingly with the sword reminds that both Moses and Jesus as infants were in danger during plans of mass extermination of male children. Moses was saved from the water by the maid of Pharaoh’s daughter and is saved in Pharaohs house (Exodus 2); and Jesus is saved from the massacre of the children by the Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2).The youthful Jesus (note the special halo) is shown standing over either Moses or perhaps one of the Holy Innocents.
At right, above Jesus’ head is the crown of thorns. One hand raised to point to Moses in the left panel. He wears a priestly stole with a pattern of crosses. To the right of the stole is a cross rising from the triangular symbol of the Trinity (P=Pater=Father; F=Filius=Son; S=Spiritus=Spirit).
Mary with braided hair carries her Child (whose unique halo is partially blocked by His mother’s cloak). “HAIL MARY” and lilies around her bespeak her purity, while oak leaves of fortitude appear in both panels.
Note that the Gospel of Matthew is structured in large part on Jesus as the new Moses: The five great discourses reflect the five first books of the Old Testament, the Torah or Law of Moses on Mount Sinai. While in Luke the Beatitudes are given on the plain, in Matthew Jesus gives His New Law on the mountain side. There are other parallels as well. Can you think of any?
Under the arms of the cross are a shell and flowing water for Baptism and the grape vine and clusters. The cross of flames springs from a host bearing the words +HOLY + +MASS + and IHS (the first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek) and a chalice similar to that in the St. Anne window. These and the bunches of grape represent the Holy Eucharist. The power of the keys to bind and loose sins given to Peter and the Church (Matthew 16) symbolize the sacrament of Penance. The divine hand over and joined circles portray Matrimony and this sacrament’s divinely-ordained indissolubility. The stole represents Holy Orders and the jar of ointment with the olive leaves and with the letters OI for “Oleo Infirmorum” (Oil of the Sick) represents the Anointing of the Sick,
The right window at top shows a fish, which is Christ (Fish in Greek, “ichthus”, makes the acrostic “Jesus Christ Son of God, Savior”) over the chi-rho, the symbolic first two letters of “Christ”. Below is a pelican piercing its breast to feed its young, as it was once thought to do. This became a mystical representation of Christ’s side pierced and nourishing His children in the Church with His body and blood. More fish over the waves and the basket of loaves represent the Gospel prefigurations of this sacramental food. The creatures used to represent the Evangelists are: a man (Matthew), a lion (Mark), an eagle (John) and an ox (Luke). These derive from Ezekiel 1:1-14 and Revelations 4:6-10. The four creatures were variously assigned to the Evangelists by Church Fathers such as St Irenaeus of Lyons, St Augustine of Hippo, Pseudo-Athanasius, and St Jerome, whose assignation has remained traditional, especially in Western Art.
The moon and a star, with more of Christ’s monograms, combine over a smaller host and chalice with grape bunches of the Mass and Eucharist.
The lamb of sacrifice shown by the chi-rho is the Lamb of God. The Butterfly and the caterpillar below show Christ’s transformation of death to life in His Resurrection, in which we share by the Sacraments.
The Spirit of God hovers over the formless void (Genesis 1:1-2). God, with Trinitarian halo, then creates the world in six days, with aspects of his work depicted and labeled: LIGHT (Gen 1:3-5), the FIRMAMENT (Gen 1:6-8), WATER and LAND (Gen 1:9-10) and VEGETATION (Gen 1:11-13), HEAVENLY BODIES (Gen 1:14-19), ANIMALS, BIRDS, FISH (Gen 1:20-25) and finally MAN (Gen 1:26-31). Adam is already clothed and kneeling with his hands to his head, hiding from God, so he has already sinned, and the story continues …
… in the left panel, where Eve (EVA) is shown seduced by Satan (small dragon-like face at upper right) and the serpent which encircles her. Thus comes sin into God’s created world. God destroys corrupt and sinful humanity in the flood (Genesis 6-8; note the watery waves and lightning, some of which is in the only brilliant red in all of the St. Ann windows), but saves his creation by just Noah’s ark, which is shown as a boat form in outline containing the Patriarch himself surrounded by animal life (notice the duck, owl, squirrel, cat, bull, elephant, a little snake, insect, dog, horse or mule, rooster; nearest to Noah is the dove amidst plant life that will signify that the water has abated and life is renewed).
Below this is Mary (note the word AVE of the “Hail Mary”), holding her divine Child in one arm and grasping a Cross with the other. She treads on the serpent in the iconography of the Immaculate Conception that we saw in the New Eve window (fourth window on the left-north-upon entering from the main doors). Much of the commentary there applies here as well.
However, the colorful aura around the Blessed Virgin adds a new symmetrical commentary and unites the two stories into a meaningful whole. The rainbow is the sign of God’s promise to never again destroy the world in such a way (Genesis 9:16). Mary, surrounded by that rainbow is the sign of the fulfillment of God’s promise in Jesus Christ whose throne is also surrounded by a rainbow in Revelations (4:3). Through Eve death came into the world and through the Mary as New Eve Jesus, the Way, Truth and Life (John 14:6) restores the created universe.