About the Art Glass Stations Windows at St. Jude Church
Although Catholic Christians have, from the earliest years, been devoted to the prayerful consideration of Our Lord’s passion, crucifixion, and death, we here at St. Jude have an additional reason to take a special interest in the Way of The Cross. As you enter the sanctuary you see light glowing from fourteen narrow windows, each filled with brilliantly colored fragments of glass. Embedded in a matrix of black epoxy resin, these irregular chunks of glass — ranging from thumb-sized bits to pieces larger than your hand — form images evoking the Passion and Death of Jesus.
Two more enormous windows flank the Crucifix behind our altar, depicting St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother, and another group of these striking windows represent the Sacraments, and bring light into the small chapel at the rear of the main church.
The technique used is called “Faceted Glass” (or “Dalle de verre”) and the designer is Mickey Laukhuff-Walker. Mrs. Laukhuff-Walker was the first woman in the U.S.A. to own a stained glass company when she founded Mickey & Ralph Stained Glass, Inc. in Memphis. She began working with glass during the Second World War when she ground prisms for bombsights. After the war, a 12-year apprenticeship led the then-Mrs. Laukhuff to a job at Binswanger Studio, where she rose to become the studio head. She bought out the studio in 1960 to form Laukhuff Stained Glass, at a time when there were few Americans in this business, and, as Mrs. Laukhuff-Walker points out, still fewer “southern women” business owners.
In 1997 Mrs. Laukhuff Walker was retired and living in Florida, from there she writes: “The Stations of the Cross are made of one inch thick glass. Each piece is faceted, or chipped, around the edges. They are assembled using epoxy instead of lead. The thickness of the glass represents the heavy burdens and sufferings of Christ, bearing the sins of the world. The facets – where light sparkles – represent the glorious life we have through the forgiveness of our sins.”