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

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Building Name: St. Mary's of Redford Church

City: Redford

Window Shape: 3 (arched)

Subject/Title of Window: Refuge of Sinners

Brief Description of Subject: The clerestory windows are designed to let light into the Church and all have the same design --- a wide border of stylized lilies and three medallions. The center medallion will contain a symbol of an advocation found in the Litany of Loreto. The advocation in this window is "Refuge of sinners, Pray for us."

Pictured in the center medallion is a Church built with masonry used in defensive fortifications. This is called a "fortified Church." In cities without town walls, a fortified Church would be the only refuge from marauders. A fitting symbol for Mary as a refuge of sinners.

Arguably the most well known example of Mary as the "refuge of sinners" is from the legend of Theophilus. The story has appeared in illuminated manuscripts, sculpture (i.e. north transept portal of Notre Dame in Paris), as well as stained glass (i.e. Cathedral of Beauvais). Theophilus had lost his job as a prelate and to get his job back he gave his soul to the devil. Eventually, realizing his sin, he sought the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede with her son.

Another example of an appeal to Mary as a "refuge of sinners" is the popular 15th Century prayer "Memorare:"

Remember, O most blessed Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your aid or sought your intercession, was left unaided.
Filled, therefore, with confidence in your goodness, I fly to you, Virgin of Virgins, my mother.
To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petition, but in your mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Height: ~64"

Width: 36"

Refuge of Sinners, Robert J. Scott
Refuge of Sinners, Robert J. Scott

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.

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