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Window of the Month
Our Lady of Grace, Dearborn Heights, Michigan

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Window

Building Name: Sweetest Heart of Mary Church

Studio Name: Detroit Stained Glass Works, The

City: Detroit

Window Shape: 6 (gothic arched, over 2 vertical sections)

Date of Window: 1893

Subject/Title of Window: Holy Family

Brief Description of Subject: The window depicts the Holy Family at work outside Joseph’s carpenter shop. Mary is weaving and the child Jesus carries a small cross, symbolic of what the future holds for him. A dovecote fastened to the wall with doves perching on it foreshadows Jesus’ baptism when he saw the Holy Spirit descend as a dove. A lamb is also present symbolizing the shepherd and his flock and sacrifice. Above this scene are three large circles filled with floral decorations and fleur-de-lis, which is an emblem of royalty given to the Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven.

The window cost $2500.

The window is the pride and joy of Sweetest Heart of Mary. It won a major prize at the 1893 World Fair held in Chicago. In the narthex there is a tapestry with this window depicted on it.

The window had been attributed to Friederichs and Staffin however there is some evidence for the Wells Glass Company of Chicago. Evidence for Friederichs and Staffin -- all of the windows at this church had been attributed to them; evidence against -- there is no record of a window from this firm at the 1893 World's Fair. Evidence for Wells Glass Company -- they did exhibit at the 1893 World's Fair and the authors of "Detroit's Historic Places of Worship" found a check from this church for $13, 545.20 made out to the Wells Glass Company dated in 1907. The check was payment to settle a lawsuit.

The window has been named "Holy Family". However it is centered on the donor's interest -- St. Joseph. There is very little in the Bible about St. Joseph.
1. There is the appearance of the angel telling him it is OK to marry Mary even though she is with child.
2. There is the Nativity and subsequent escape.
3. There is the circumcision where they did not have a lamb for the sacrifice so had to substitute 2 doves instead.
4. Finally the 12 year old Jesus that they lost and finally found at the temple. When they found him Jesus said "why are looking for me? Didn't you know I had to be in my father's house. But they did not understand what he was saying". The scene in the window fits none of these.

Description of Window: Scene from in front of the humble house of the Holy Family. Joseph has stopped his carpentry work and has turned towards Mary while pointing at the Christ child who is bearing a cross. Mary is working at her spinning.

There is a woman carrying a water jug. There are many references to this in the Bible but none that I could find applicable to Joseph.

Inscription: Ofiarowalo Bractwo Sw Jozefa. Translation: Donated by the Confraternity of St. Joseph

Condition of Window: Restored, 1979

Height: 60’

Width: 30’

Type of Glass and Technique: Opalescent Glass, Enamel Paint, Silver Stain

Holy Family
Holy Family
Holy Family
Holy Family
Holy Family Window close-up
Holy Family Window close-up
Holy Family Window exterior
Holy Family Window exterior

The MSGC is a constantly evolving database. Not all the data that has been collected by volunteers has been sorted and entered. Not every building has been completely documented.

All images in the Index are either born-digital photographs of windows or buildings or are scans of slides, prints, or other published sources. These images have been provided by volunteers and the quality of the material varies widely.

If you have any questions, additions or corrections, or think you can provide better images and are willing to share them, please contact donald20@msu.edu