Stained Glass

Windows

The most noticeable feature of St. Alphonsus Church is the glorious stained glass windows.  Since the Middle Ages, images in stained glass instructed the community in the faith tradition of the Church.  The windows throughout this church not only instruct us in the life of Christ, as commemorated in the mysteries of the rosary, and the saints, but also reflect the rich cultural diversity that has made up the parish community from its beginnings.  Saints from Italy, Poland, Germany, and Ireland reflect the immigrant roots of the parish, extending into our own day.  The subject matter of all but one of large stained glass windows is more or less based on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.  There are, however, an omission and two additions to the mysteries to meet the problem of an even number of windows and an odd number of mysteries.

The windows of St. Alphonsus Church were registered with the Michigan Stained Glass Census in 2007.  The links below take you to the page for each window.

St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Baptism of Jesus and St. John the Baptist
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Bishop's Miter and Scroll
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Colored diamond pattern
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Violin and Horns
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: St. Aloysius Gonzaga and St. John the Baptist
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: St. Peter and St. Paul
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: St. Bartholomew and St. John
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: St. Anne and Immaculate Conception
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Lion Head and Bird Head
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: St. Matthew and St. Simon
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Decorative pattern with crosses
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: The finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: The Flight of Mary, Joseph and child, Jesus into Egypt
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: St. Columban and St. Patrick
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: The Crowning of Jesus with Thorns
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Sacred Heart and Hourglass
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Colored diamond pattern
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Patrons of religious music
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: The Scourging of Jesus at the Pillar
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Nativity or Birth of the Lord
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Chi Rho and Symbols
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Visitation
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: The Annunciation
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Woman, Bull and Crosses
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Decorative patterns with Crosses
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Chalice and Harp
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: St. Andrew and St. James the Great
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Decorative pattern with a Cross and a rose
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Bells and Drum
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: St. Joseph and St. Stanislaus
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: St. Philip and St. Thomas
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: St. James the Less and St.Thaddeus
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Colored diamond pattern
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Bible and Chalice
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: St. Rose of Lima and St. Teresa Little Flower
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Miter and Lamb (Agnus Dei)
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: St. Alphonsus
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: The Coronation of Mary
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: The Carrying of the Cross
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Catherine
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Host and Scale
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Decorative patterns with Crosses
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Jesus dies on the Cross
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: The Ascension of the Lord into Heaven.
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: Dove with fish and Anchor with fish
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: The Descent of the Holy Spirit
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church: The Resurrection



St Alphonsus Catholic Church - Dearborn, Michigan

Stained Glass Windows Background

Stained Glass Window Bible and Chalice in St. Alphonsus Church

St. Alphonsus parish had its beginnings when some 40 German families from Rhineland-Westphalia settled in the area that is now east Dearborn between 1825 and 1845.  In 1846 Peter Esper donated some of his farm land to establish a Catholic school.  The first mass was celebrated in 1851 in the Esper home.  In 1852 the Redemptorist Fathers organized St. Alphonsus Parish, named for the founder of the priest's order. A small brick church was built on the property donated by the Esper family at Warren and Schaefer and was in use until a new church was built in 1874.  No photos exist of the original church.

 Ground was broken on April 11, 1928 for a new church building for St. Alphonsus parish, to replace the 1874 building.  Architect Arthur des Rosiers designed the church, as well as the 1925 convent, in the Neo-Gothic style. The church is built in the form of a cross, the ceiling arches are crowned with Tudor-style wooden beams, and the floor is laid with Pewabic tiles. Paintings by Alfred Wrobbel can be found throughout the church, and the 38 foot high altar features Roman stone and Italian marble.  The first mass was celebrated in the new church on Easter Sunday, March 31, 1929.  All services were then conducted in the new church, although the altars were not completed until February 1930.  The formal dedication of the church building occurred on May 18, 1930.

 When the new church opened none of the stained glass windows were in place.  Photos in the book from the dedication show what appears to be a plain ripple patterned glass in the windows and credits the Wayne Glass Co. for the glazing.

The first group of stained glass windows was installed in 1931.  These windows were made in Austria by the Tyrolese Art Glass Company and included the large window in the choir, one of the transept windows, the four sanctuary windows and one nave window.  The smaller memorial windows in the side aisles were installed during the 1930's and 40’s.  Most of these windows are inscribed “Made in Austria” or “Tyrolese Art Glass Co, Innsbruck Austria”.

 The remaining nine nave windows and one transept window were installed sometime after 1945 and were made by the Detroit Stained Glass Works.  The parish history book published in 1952 for the 100th anniversary incorrectly credits all of the stained glass windows to DSGW.  The windows from DSGW can be identified by a simplified decorative panel above and below the main image where the Tyrolese windows have a very intricate pattern.

 The Saint Alphonsus Catholic Church Complex is a registered Michigan Historical Site #L1994