OUR LADY of LOURDES and ST PETER CHANEL CHURCH, HULLRETURN
A Commentary on the Stained Glass Windows
As these windows are situated next to one another and above the Saint Peter Chanel altar their overall design, form, colour, imagery and symbolism are interrelated so that they may be read as a whole. The colour has a spiritual as well as a sensual appeal and I have employed the medieval principles of symbolism in the visual language of the windows.
Saint Peter Chanel Window
The window to the left of the altar celebrates the life of Saint Peter Chanel and is martyrdom on the island of Futuna in the South Pacific Ocean on 28th April 1841.
His motto was"To love Mary and to make her loved".
Around the image of Saint Peter piercing beams of light shine out across the islands of the Pacific from a central golden aureole carrying the message of the gospel to the people. The flock of sheep in the bottom left hand corner refer to Saint Peterís early youth spent on his parentís farm in La PotiŤre in eastern France and to his flock on Wallis and Futuna. Fish swim in a circular fashion through the deep blue and multicoloured waters of the Pacific Ocean. The fish is a powerful Christian symbol and is used here to denote the spreading of Saint Peterís mission. The dove, which is soaring upwards in the top left of the frame, is carrying the message in the form of a tropical flower. The pebbles, which can be seen around the edge of the water, are to remind us of the rough pebble floor of his poor hut and simple lifestyle. The deep blue/purples in the bottom right of the frame symbolise the dark forces working against him and the golden light above symbolises the power of the Holy Spirit.
The blood of his martyrdom seen around the central image
Became the seed of Christianity in the Pacific Islands.
WAR MEMORIAL WINDOW
The simple cross at the centre of the right hand window is based on a monument erected on the sire of St Peterís martyrdom on Futuna and is seen here bathed in the deep red evening light of the setting sun. Te cross is set against a backdrop of soft white clouds in a big South Pacific sky. The white represents purity and the blue sky is heaven and the afterlife.
The central cross is surrounded by the sails and rigging of the sailing ship "Delphine" which carried Saint Peter to Valparaiso on the first stage of his journey to Horn Islands. They are also the sails of the ship of souls ferrying the souls of the fallen in battle. The poppies of remembrance grow at the foot of the cross and their falling petals, representing those of the Marist College, parishioners and others who gave their lives in the Second World War and other conflicts, are nurtured by and received into the cupped hands of God.
Peace is represented by he familiar rolling countryside in the bottom right of the frame fractured by the trajectories of bullets and by explosions. The chaos and destruction of war is seen in the discordant colours, jagged shapes and rough textures of fallen masonry in the bottom left of the window.
The windows were designed and made by
JOHN LEATHWOOD (HULL)