Through the Glass, Brightly

Light is symbolic in many ways, yet it takes on a new significance in our houses of worship. Explore the stories behind and inside the stained glass in our area churches.

We “see the light.” We become “enlightened.” We look for “the light in the window.”

Light, by its very nature, is symbolic, and this symbolic nature is never more apparent than when illuminating the iconic stained glass of our many houses of worship.

When first used in churches, stained glass, with its images and symbols, was meant to convey religious messages and Biblical tales to a largely illiterate populace.

In America, the use of stained glass in churches didn’t really begin until the mid-1800s, due to lack of artisans – not to mention high cost. Today, the shining saintly figures, religious icons and unique designs can evoke awe, wonder, veneration, even delight.
While the use of stained glass in churches of the 21st century seems to have diminished, beautiful examples abound in the churches of our northwest suburbs. Here, in the spirit of the season, Northwest Quarterly spotlights just a few. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge an image.