Liturgical Environment

Chapel Windows I : Praise


Yesterday’s celebration of the Baptism of Jesus signals the end of the Christmas season and the return to Ordinary Time. All the decorations have been put away and the happy poinsettias that graced our chapel have found new homes. Just as there is nothing really ordinary about Ordinary Time -- we celebrate the life of Christ and express gratitude for our lives every day –- our chapel reflects noble beauty through its simplicity. One way it does this is through the use of stained glass windows.

After the community members themselves, it’s probably safe to say that the stained glass windows in our chapel are the most photographed feature of this community. The weekend brought bright and welcome winter sunshine and prompted many, sisters and visitors alike, to reach for a camera and snap a photo or two of the vibrant colors that flooded the space. A document in our archives tells us that “the symbolic treatment of the stained glass windows best expresses the ideas that prevail here -- the center of Benedictine life reaching out in all directions and in all walks of life, performing good works for the glory of God and the salvation of humankind.”

Let us begin an occasional series on the symbols found in the stained glass windows of our chapel, their meaning and how they reflect not just light and color but the Benedictine charism to seek God as members of a cenobitic community and to respond through prayer and ministry. We'll start with ...


Praise is symbolized by the harp and music.

We are a worshiping community. Daily we give praise to God through the hymns and psalms of the Opus Dei (Liturgy of the Hours).

Let nothing be preferred to the Work of God – Rule of Benedict 43:3

Letter from Winterich's Designers and Craftsmen, Cleveland OH, 1970
Pamphlet describing the chapel windows of Mount Saint Benedict Monastery, Erie PA
Photo from the archives of Mount Saint Benedict Monastery, Erie PA, circa 1970

Archive photo - Chapel before stained glass installation