Meetings between school officials and Henninger's resulted in the conclusion that the two large windows on each side of the sanctuary should be the first priority with the subjects for the window being Mary and Joseph. It was decided that the depiction of Mary would be Our Lady of Sorrows, for whom the Brothers of the Holy Cross hold a special devotion and that St. Joseph would be depicted as a guiding father with a teenage Jesus, appropriate for the all boys high school founded by the Brothers of the Holy Cross.
After some color selection for the glass and working through various designs, the final drawing for each window was approved incorporating the idea of movement into the glass to tie all of the glass in the chapel together with the depictions of Mary & Joseph that stayed within the school's mission. With the sizes finalized, the colors selected, and the glass ordered, the artists at Henninger's went to work on fabricating the windows for the Chapel.
As the first step, Henninger's artists laid out the windows in real-size on the wall by drawing the figures and the shapes of the windows to allow them to cut and paint the glass in the correct sizes. This process allows the artist to get a sense of the figures in their actual size to work out the specifics of the folds of clothing, the posture of the figures, and the spacing between the subjects. In a wonderful gesture, the officials at the high school asked if the face of St. Joseph could be modeled after a longtime Brother, who had served at the school in different capacities for nearly 5 decades. Henninger's was able to draw St. Joseph's face based on old pictures of the Brother and - with the design portion nearly complete - was able to move onto cutting glass.
The glass was laid out on the real-size drawings and cut to size by the stained glass artists, who then moved onto the painting portion, where the figures were brought to life on the glass.
Once on site, Henninger's crew began to build the frames and move the Stained Glass panels into place up the scaffolding, starting with the upper portions of the St. Joseph side first:
Once the St. Joseph window was in place, the crew went to work on installing the Mary panels on the other side of the Sanctuary:
Once both windows were in place, the crew went to work installing all of the custom trim-work and molding that had been fabricated to fit the space and match the wood already in place in the Chapel. Once complete, the windows were finished, immediately and completely transforming the environment with prayerful images and soft colors that diffused the activity behind the window and providing a serene space.
The project was a tremendous example of the collaboration between the school and Henninger's artists and craftsmen as the school year begins with the school Chapel transformed into what was imagined for it to be, leading St. Edward High School President Jim Kubacki to write this in appreciation for the collaboration and in anticipation for the rest of the project to be completed:
I just want to thank you and your team for the wonderful stained glass we now have in our Holy Family Chapel. It is stunning. You have been terrific collaborators as we have tried to develop the vison and message and unify the look for the chapel. It clearly is Holy Cross and St. Eds as well as great art. Thank you for all your efforts. I look forward to the day when it is completed. The Chapel will be our jewel and a daily reminder of why St. Edward High School exists! Thanks again.