St. Mary's beauty should be recognized
Dec. 6, 2011 at 6:06 a.m.
Updated Dec. 8, 2011 at 6:08 a.m.
Editor, the Advocate:
I read with interest the Victoria visitors guide, "Bring Your Boots," which included everything you could possibly see in Victoria, even the duck pond. It was striking that the one thing they forgot is the "Crown Jewel" of Victoria, with some of the finest architecture and art in the whole state of Texas. One has to wonder, did they miss this on purpose? I'm speaking of course about one of the oldest churches in the state of Texas, St. Mary's.
Inside St. Mary's, the 57 stained glass windows are magnificent. The entry has "Christ blessing little children" followed by the "Angel Raphael, Tobias and the fish." Under the picture of St. Frances of Assisi is an inscription in memory of Francis and Clara Rippamonti - thus the pictures also provide a history lesson of original Victoria families.
The 12 east windows of the nave give a visual presentation of the life of Christ, His mother, Mary, and vignettes of the lives of St. Dominic and St. Bernadette.
The "Crucifixion" and "Christ taking leave of His mother" are the "newest" in this section, dating to 1913 and 1914 respectively. The original artisans used both mouth-blown as well as hand-cast glass, the use of some being transparent and others opalescent almost making them seem three dimensional.
The 12 windows in the west nave represent Christ's ministry on Earth. In the window, "Christ giving Holy Communion to St. John," it has this inscription at the bottom: "A.M.D.G. to the memory of the Very Rev. Augustine Gardet, during his 35 years as zealous pastor of St. Mary's Church, R.I.P." This window was placed in 1909. Other windows show "The Good Shepherd" and the famous picture of "The Guardian Angel" watching over the two little children in times of danger.
One window, "Christ knocking at the door," is interesting because no matter where you stand, it appears that Jesus seems to be looking at you.
Whether you are a tourist or a Victorian, a visit to St. Mary's is an awesome experience. The grand inside architecture and the magnificent altar, the connecting little chapel and old convent are true "Victoria Gems."
Wm. Paul Tasin, Victoria