December 5, 2019
by Brian Bell, Assistant Principal - Student Life, Schools of the Sacred Heart, Atherton
I teach a stained glass workshop course, and I worked with our high school art students over the last three semesters to fabricate a group project in honor of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne.
The window was a labor of love. Students enrolled in the course and took turns jumping in and out of the work of making this window, as time allowed in the course. We are thrilled with the final product. We created it for our campus, and it is dedicated to all Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) throughout the world.
We presented it as a gift to our school community at our Feast of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne celebration assembly last month.
As a side project, we created a short video we shared at our prayer service that shows the journey of fabricating the window.
We are blessed to have the RSCJ retirement center, Oakwood, on our campus, and it was a very special moment for me to take our class and the window over to their community room. I was privileged to witness our students teach some of our sisters how to wrap the glass with copper foil.
A brief description of the project
We started by outlining Philippine from a prayer banner created by Mary Marley at Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Newton, Massachusetts. We used a computer design program to isolate her as a stand-alone image, and then, we added our own artistic elements to surround her.
We wanted to use our rendering to tell a bit about Philippine's story, which is fitting for a stained glass window. Our AP art students helped with brainstorming images and ideas, and, in our final version, she ended up on the shores of the Gulf Coast, depicting her arrival in 1818 to North America.
We placed the Rebecca in the background – this was the start of her "Rebecca moment" and – and we even added a French flag on the mast of the ship. We also put her on a path to symbolize her life journey with oak leaves at her feet in the colors of the different seasons of her life.
Some acorns were also included as symbols of the potential and capacity of the young people that all of us educators are called to love and nurture as they grow right in front of us. Philippine is standing next to a stylized oak tree (Duchesne in French means “from oak”), and we added a feather on her path as an acknowledgment to the Native America / ancestral people she dreamed of working with.