Stunning stained glass windows wrap the College of Mount St. Joseph’s Mater Dei Chapel in color and majesty.

Marlene Hoffman ’61, an alum of the art program at the Mount, designed the 28 windows under the guidance of Sr. Augusta Zimmer.

Symbols of Christianity

Each colorful window displays symbols of Christianity. The various shades of gold, brown and auburn in each piece symbolize the worth, virtue and glory of God, and complement the tones in the reredos behind the altar.

Blessed Sacrament of Christ

The 10 windows framing the sanctuary represent aspects of the Blessed Sacrament of Christ. Images used include a gladiolus, lamb, chalice and host, as well as numerous circles. 

Blessed Virgin Mary

The 18 windows in the body of the Chapel are dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. They include images of a moon, lilies, a Chi Rho Cross with the letter “M,” and many more symbols associated with Mary’s role in salvation history.

Devotions

Among the windows are three with special devotion: 

  • St. Joseph with a carpenter angle and hammer; 
  • Mother Seton displaying volumes of closed books; 
  • St. Thomas Aquinas showcasing a portrait image of St. Thomas wearing the scholarly vestments.

The Process

Marlene spent one year researching, designing and producing the windows. She created full-scale templates for each window, which she hung from the fourth floor of Marian Hall at the Motherhouse to finalize the design. 

After the collection was approved, Marlene worked with Blenko Glass Company in Virginia on the glass selection and construction. The lead frames were constructed in the Art Department under the guidance of Sr. Augusta. 

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