Featured Windows, August 2000
Madden Hall Windows, Adrian Dominican Motherhouse Campus
Building: Adrian Dominican Motherhouse-Holy Rosary Chapel , Madden Hall & Weber Center
These windows are among nine Dominican Rosary windows in the hallway leading to Holy Rosary Chapel in Madden Hall. The large standing figures represent Dominican saints, each clothed in a Dominican habit. Below each figure is a "Mystery of the Rosary," or sacred event, related to the life of the pictured saint. The windows portray the following saints, reading from left to right, top to bottom rows:
St. Antoninus of Florence (1389-1459), a Bishop and Confessor, wears a mitre on his head as a sign of his episcopacy. He holds a palm branch signifying that as a confessor he is a peacemaker between the penitent and God. The lower part of the window shows Mary in the Temple presenting the child Jesus to the priest, Zachary.
St. Catherine de Ricci (1522-1590), a Mystic, raises her hands, showing the stigmata in her palms. The lower part of the window represents Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest.
St. Albert the Great (1200-1280), a Doctor of the Church, holds scientific instruments, a retort in his right hand and an ancient compass in his left hand, as symbols of his teaching and writing in the natural sciences. The scene in the lower part of the window depicts an angel telling Mary that she is to become the mother of Jesus.
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), a Doctor of the Church, holds a book, probably his most famous work, The Summa Theologica. A large Host (the consecrated Eucharist wafer), bordered by gold rays, rests upon his chest. The lower part of the window shows the boy Jesus discussing theology with priests in the Temple.
St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), a Doctor of the Church, holds the tiara of Pope Gregory XI, who had been living in Avignon but returned to his seat at Rome at the saint's insistence. The lower part of the window depicts Jesus holding a palm branch and wearing the crown of thorns placed upon him after his arrest.
St. Louis Bertrand (1526-1581), a Confessor, holds a gun with a top resembling a crucifix. When his life was threatened by a man with a gun, the saint made the sign of the cross over the gun, transforming it into a crucifix. The lower part of the window portrays Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth. Both women are pregnant, Mary with her son Jesus, Elizabeth with her son John the Baptist.
The windows were designed and constructed during the years 1939 to 1942 by Sister Helene O'Connor (1909-1992) with the assistance of her students, Sisters Jane Burke and Eileen Minges. Born as Mary Regina O'Connor in California, Sister Helene joined the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 1926. Her earliest assignments were in Michigan. After study in Rome and at the Cranbrook Academy of Arts, she taught art for twenty years at Siena Heights College, then operated by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. She created in various media in her college studio, lectured on ecclesiastical art, and was a mentor to many art teachers and students. Later she taught math, science, forensics and drama at Catholic high schools in California, Florida and West Virginia, and wrote award-winning poetry. Her final days were spent at the Dominican Life Center, operated by the Adrian Dominican Sisters on their Motherhouse Campus. To view a window in the Dominican Life Center, visit the Window of the Month for October, 1999.
Madden Hall, Adrian Dominican Motherhouse Campus was registered in the Michigan Stained Glass Census by Sister Mary Carola of Adrian.
Text by Betty MacDowell, Michigan Stained Glass Census, August , 2000.