The artwork in St. Martin’s is in the form of stained-glass windows, Stations of the Cross bronzes, frescoes, and mosiac tile. All of it is designed to enhance the worship experience of those who attend our parish. Much of the artwork has been created by Brother Mel Meyer at the Marianist Art Gallery which is part of Vianney High School on Lindbergh Blvd. at I-44 in St. Louis, MO.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS
See details about our Stations of the Cross in the parish Sanctuary.
Sanctuary Window – This tall window’s theme is based upon the Apostles’ Creed (as is the fresco in the ceiling of the Chapel) and emphasizes Jesus’ humanity. The 12 panels of the window represent the following:
+ A majestic figure suggesting: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty…”
+ The ancient understanding of a 3 tiered universe, heaven above, earth (flat) beneath, hell underneath: “Creator of heaven and earth.”
+ A fish, ancient secret symbol for Christ: “I believe in Jesus Christ…”
+ Figure of a woman: “…born of the Virgin Mary.”
+ Crown standing for: “suffered under Pontius Pilate.” Five red dots standing for the five wounds, hands, feet, and side.
+ Shrouded Cross: “…was crucified, died, and was buried.”
+ Arrows pointing down and up: “He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again.”
+ Dove, a frequent symbol of the Holy Spirit: “… believe in the Holy Spirit.”
+ Suggestive of Church structure: “The holy catholic Church, the communion of Saints.”
+ A cross in the form of an X: “The forgiveness of sins…”
+ A sunrise symbolizing: “…the resurrection of the body…”
+ A chalice and paten and an arrow pointing up: “…the life everlasting.”
West Window – The round window high in the west wall (installed in 1987) symbolizes the New Testament Resurrection of Christ. The resurrection is suggested by the streamers (joy) which also forms a flower; and a wafer, suggesting our weekly receiving of the body of the Risen Christ.
East Window – The round window high in the east wall (also installed in 1987) depicts the Old Testament Resurrection … the crossing of the Red Sea. Deep colors were an important part of this window (in order to shield the congregation from the strong light which comes through this window during the morning hours).
CHAPEL CROSS AND FRESCO
Tau Cross – The Tau Cross was installed in the Chapel in 1970 and closely resembles the cross on which our Lord was actually crucified. It was given in memory of Dan Irvine, son of Kate and Bill Irvine. Dan, one of St. Martin’s original acolytes, drowned just after his graduation from LaFayette High School. The processional cross (also a Tau Cross) was given in memory of Michael Rowley who died of cancer while a sophomore at LaFayette.
The processional cross was incorporated into the Chapel Tau Cross since both boys knew each other. The Chapel Cross has three fresco panels. The bottom one, suggestive of water and the prow of a ship, refers to the beginning of life, birth, and baptism. The middle panel depicts a tree, since the original church was built around a tree. This speaks to growing up, strong and tall, in life. Finally, the top panel, flames, suggests the Holy Spirit’s ability to help us give light, warmth, and love in this life.
Chapel Fresco – This fresco, located in the ceiling of the Chapel, is based on the Apostles’ Creed … the Church’s doctrinal framework is based upon this creed. The center section of the Fresco refers to the first or “God” section of the creed. The three hands stress God’s triune nature and creative function – “I believe in God, the Father almighty….” The colors (Photo courtesy of former-parishoner Tom Hodgson) in between the hands suggest that all of life – brown earth, blue sky, etc. stems from God “… maker of Heaven and earth.”. The spokes refer to all aspects of life, all that has been created by God “… and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord.” The second section of the creed is represented by the hand that points to the cross … referring to Jesus, “… conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary” – the Dove’s beak is touching an “M” on the right top of the cross. “… suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified dead and buried.” – the Crown and the five red dots signifying Christ’s five wounds. “He descended to the dead … He ascended into heaven” – the two arrows, one pointing down, the other up. The third section of the creed is depicted on the lower perimeter of the Fresco: The dove – “I believe in the Hold Spirit;” The heads of the people – “The holy catholic Church, the communion of saints;” The waves – “forgiveness of sins;” And the Arrow encompassing a green figure – “the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”
The McCann Window – This window is a free form based on the Bible verse: “Jesus – the light of the world.” It is located in the side Chapel wall and replaces the window that was in the same location when the original Church building stood alone. When Packwood Hall was added to connect the main Church building with the Laird Educational building, the window was removed and a plaster wall erected in its place. This window now restores some of the original feeling to the chapel.
The clerestory windows face the altar and can be seen from the pulpit, altar, choir loft and side pews. Twelve of the fifteen windows represent each of Christ’s Apostles: Thomas, Phillip, James the Greater, Bartholemew, Andrew, Peter, John, Thaddeus, Simon, Matthias, Matthew and James the Lesser. The last three windows represent the three Cardinal virtues: faith, hope and love.
Thomas, Philip, James the Greater
Bartholemew, Andrew, Peter
John, Thaddeus, Simon
Matthias, Matthew, James the Lesser
Faith, Hope, Love
MOSIAC TILE PROJECT
The round, plain, circle on the outside of the parish hall wall in the parking lot mirrors (and therefore balances) the western stained glass window in the Nave of the church. When the parish hall was designed, it was felt that at sometime in the future, this circle would be more fully developed.
Mary Drastal and Karen Figuroa (Senior High Leaders) worked with Carrie Kruger (who designed the mosaic) and 13 other members of the Senior High Youth to build the mosaic to decorate that area. Many adults were also involved in the project. Five years were spent creating and glazing the individual blue tiles that are used to make up the actual cross and border of the mosaic, the cinnamon colored plates which contain the outlines of different parishioner’s hands (symbolizing how individuals give of themselves), and then constructing the completed mosaic on 13 shaped pieces of cement board. The completed mosaic was installed by Tarlton Construction Co. over a two day period during July of 2005.
The circular area on the south or right end of the wall counterbalances the round stained glass window depicting the new testament resurrection on the left end of the complex (the nave of the church).
The finished mosaic contains the cross made from small dark blue tile squares, the cinnamon colored plates which contain the handprints of both the youth and adults of the church, and the light blue tiles that surround the cross and has the inscription “A life without cause is a life without effect” inscribed upon the surface. Beneath this inscription are the words help, contribute, restore, ease, support, serve, comfort, aid, strengthen, and heal to remind us of our obligations as Christians.
NARTHEX STAINED GLASS HANGINGS
Mary Drastal and Karen Figuora, the Senior High Youth Group leaders, went to all of the Sunday school classes and asked them to draw the religious objects/images that were important to each class. Mary then compiled all of the images and combined the various ideas into three stained glass windows. Ten students in the Senior High Youth Group then took those designs, cut the glass, soldered the pieces together, framed them, and then hung the resulting stained glass panels in the Narthex in front of the east windows.
The first panel of the stained glass window depicts the Cross, the sun, fire (flames) and water. The theme of water is carried through to the other two panels.
The middle panel of the stained glass window is a representation of the Tree of Life.
The right panel of the stained glass window represents the Holy Spirit (the dove), and the Fire (flames) of Pentecost.