The students and faculty of St. Mary School in Alexandria
received an early Christmas gift on Wednesday, a new stained- glass window made
by Dixon Studios of Staunton. It is the first of five stained-glass windows
specially designed with the students of the school in mind.
“The windows are designed in a traditional style, with a special
emphasis on details that will appeal to children,” said Annie Dixon, project
manager. “In the Nativity window, the Baby Jesus is reaching out to the little
lamb, creating soft and sweet composition, which is also a foreshadowing of the
baby’s destiny as the sacrificial lamb.”
Near the crib is a cherub peeking into the manger. According to
Dixon, the little angel acts as a reminder to the students that they each have
a guardian angel watching over them.
This particular window is dedicated to former St. Mary Church
pastor, Father Dennis W. Kleinmann, as a way to thank him for his 15 years of
service at the parish. According to Principal Janet Cantwell, Father Kleinmann
was instrumental in moving the St. John Neumann chapel from the school’s lower
level to the top level, giving it a more prominent place. The chapel was
dedicated Sept. 8, 2015, on the feast of Mary’s Nativity.
Since the chapel is not large enough to hold the 700-student
body, the school continues to use the gym for weekly Mass. On First Friday, the
entire school makes the six- block walk to St. Mary Church. The chapel, which
holds 40 people, is used daily for activities including morning faculty prayer,
Thursday adoration and weekly confessions for the middle school.
The remaining four windows will complete the joyful mysteries as
suggested by pastor, Father Edward C. Hathaway.
“Because there are five windows, I thought of the five joyful
mysteries. It had to be something with Mary and joyful because children are
joyful. It’s also the story of the Lord’s childhood so (the students) can see
themselves in them.”
“I think the richness and the beauty of a chapel is very
important because (many of) the children are very visual in how they learn,”
said Cantwell, who remembers enjoying the beautiful windows in her own church
growing up. She hopes that the new window will remind the children to give God
the gift of being the most beautiful person spiritually that they can be.