Stained glass glory

This finale to the Jesuit residence chapel will be a beauty to behold.

By Joni Moths Mueller

They lean over the light table and touch brilliantly colored cuts of glass that are being painted, brushed and fired into the puzzled beauty of a stained glass window for the Donald J. Schneider Chapel in the Dr. E.J. O’Brien Jesuit Residence. The massive window will be installed in 2018, and that date, when it comes, will be celebrated with fanfare. But this stage of the process is stirring to view.

It has been two years in the making already. A chapel design group comprising Jesuits and members of Marquette’s Department of Facilities Planning and Management talked for more than a year before approving the stained glass rendering of a 17th-century etching by Peter Paul Rubens that depicts St. Ignatius at the moment of his greatest enlightenment at Manresa. The biography of Ignatius tells readers he “understood more things in that moment than he did for the rest of his life.”

“We thought about who we are as a university and chose this iconic image to communicate that,” explains Rev. David Schultenover, S.J.

Now a handful of Jesuits, Revs. Grant Garinger, Joseph Mueller, John Laurance and Schultenover, pointing at pieces of the landscape, the river and Ignatius’ profile, express awe at the colors and textures. The window is being created with loving hands by Milwaukee-based artist John D. Van Koningsveld, who studied not only the landscape as Rubens caught it, but also searched for images of the landscape of Manresa at the time and movements of the river to capture the scene with precise detail. “I’ve touched each piece hundreds of times,” the artist says. “It’s challenging because I’m doing it in Old European style so it matches other (stained glass) forms on campus. I’m painting in all the details so, for instance, a piece of the forest is fired and painted three times, Ignatius’ robe is fired five times.” The artist bought an industrial kiln to fit this work. Each firing takes 14 hours.

This finale to the Jesuit residence was made possible because late-alumna Bernice Shanke Greiveldinger, Jour ’42, established a charitable trust to support “brick and mortar” Catholic-related projects, with specific mention of her alma mater, Marquette. The Shanke Greiveldinger Trust, a member of the 2017 Marquette University President’s Society, also contributed to the building of the Jesuit residence.

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