The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Behind the stained-glass windows

Step inside St. Thomas More Church on a clear day and you will see the sun shining through the stained-glass windows into this sacred place of worship. The mosaics sparkle and shine. When the sun goes down, the stained glass windows become dark, but nevertheless they are lit from within.

Has it ever crossed your mind who is behind the work of these stained-glass windows?

Artist Sylvia Nicolas is the lady behind these beautiful pieces of art.

During Nicolas’ visit to St. John’s last

Wednesday, Sept. 24, she talked about the stained-glass windows, the history of how she got into the art form, the colors she used and her process.

Kat McGill, a sophomore Catholic scholar, described her experience listening to Nicolas’ speech.

“I loved seeing her memories kind of flaunt back. I loved how she looked at her stained-glass windows like her child. This is a period of her life that she put so much energy and love into. I loved seeing this from the creator [herself]”, McGill said.

Originally from the Netherlands and a fourth-generation stained-glass artist, Nicolas’ choice of colors, along with the light that shines through, help to bring sacred stories to life.

St. John’s Catholic Scholar sophomore Billy Rabold expressed what he felt moving about Nicolas’s speech.

“I really love how she opened up with how her dad and the past five generations that have been working on stained-glass windows. She was so happy when she was here and to see how things looked like ten years after the fact,” Rabold said.

Nicolas always portrays God in red and white. She also said that she sometimes portrays St. Joseph in red. Since red is the most expensive color, she wanted to keep it for the prime subject.

“If you put many dark colors together it cre ates a hard space. It is the hour of the day or where the light is coming through that influences the color. Once you decide on one color, you blend the rest,” Nicolas said.

Nicolas’ approach to the stained-glass windows is both spiritual and humanistic. They also range from traditional to contemporary and are highly symbolic.

Another Catholic scholar present at the event where Nicolas spoke, sophomore Montana Allen, described her favorite stained-glass window in St. Thomas More.

“I really love the washing of the feet. We are all Catholic scholars, and as a freshman we learned a lot about the servant leadership. This is the last thing we see in church as the priest says ‘go out and serve the Lord.’ The fact that you serve the Lord by serving others is the ultimate example of servant leadership. This is the last image you see and it is really powerful and inspiring for you to go and serve the Lord.”

During the question-and-answer session, Montana asked Nicolas herself if the washing of the feet depiction on the stained glass that was towards the exit of the church was to represent the command to go and serve the Lord.

Nicolas responded that it was simply fate.

Whether visting St. Thomas More Church on the way to class or for Mass, step inside and indulge in the beauty of the art that takes up the space of the interior. The stained-glass windows are a beautiful piece of artwork that depict sacred and meaningful stories.

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