Modern day saint, convert depicted in diocesan window

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The image of another modern saint now filters colored light into The Virginia G. Piper Chapel at the Diocesan Pastoral Center.

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, the newest stained glass window in The Virginia G. Piper Chapel at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, the newest stained glass window in The Virginia G. Piper Chapel at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted blessed and dedicated the image of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, the newest stained glass window in the chapel, March 13 during a special evening liturgy. It’s the 10th window depicting a saint canonized or beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II to be installed in the chapel.

The late pope beatified Edith Stein — St. Teresa’s birth name — in 1987 and canonized her in 1998. St. Teresa took that name when she joined the Carmelite Order in 1933. It was a discipline JPII embraced.

“He was very in tune with Carmelite spirituality,” said Nicole Delaney, a member of the St. Joseph Community of Discalced Carmelites, said.

The local secular order co-sponsored the window along with the diocesan Office of the Diaconate and a family in memory of a loved one. The late pontiff wrote a doctoral dissertation on St. John of the Cross, a cofounder of the Discalced Carmelites and a mystical doctor of the Church.

“The Carmelites hope that one day she’ll be made a doctor of the Church,” Delaney said of St. Teresa Benedicta, calling her a “brilliant, brilliant philosopher.”

Carmelites are known for both their intellectual and contemplative life. St. Teresa’s writings fill 17 volumes. She was also a professor and a convert from Judaism. The window features the star of David.

Deacon Doug Bogart, associate director of education and formation in the diocesan Office of the Diacaonte, said she was successful and prolific before becoming a Carmelite. He also said co-sponsoring the window  “just fit” the diaconate.

“She reached out to the whole world in a sense,” he said.

Edith Stein was a modern, faith-filled woman who was active in her own life and as a Carmelite. Deacons follow a similar model teaching in formal settings and by example.

The stained glass window depicts train tracks, barbed wire and Auschwitz where she died a Catholic martyr in 1942. Some say the gray smoke sparkles — as if it’s active — in certain light.

Artwork in The Virginia G. Piper Chapel

The 140-seat chapel, located at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, holds Mass weekdays for diocesan staff and visiting groups attending meetings and conferences. It’s also open to local Catholic organizations.

To sponsor a stained glass window or other architectural element, call (602) 354-2217.

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