Meaning in Glass


I am prompted by John Woods’ reference to stained glass (Editor’s Report, April 27) to mention a window at St. Patrick’s Cathedral that is a special one for me. It is not the impressive Window of St. Bernard, a gift from the Diocese of Rochester, no doubt to honor our formidable first bishop, Bernard McQuaid (from 1868 to 1909), but rather St. Augustine at the deathbed of his mother, St. Monica. Every Catholic boy and girl has heard the story of Augustine’s early years of fast living and of his mother’s steady prayers for him. But I responded to a different vibe.

From 2006 to 2010, my anxiety increased as my mom’s health declined. It was hard to watch, to experience. Assisted living at a fine Catholic facility did not make her thrive, engage, enjoy. At age 89, she was at the end of her days. The comfort came to me not through the figure of the standing and stricken (helpless) Augustine, nor through the prone, resigned Monica, but rather quite powerfully from the good women who were (and had long been) ministering to Monica. Like my mom’s nurses, they knew what to do and how to do it. This was what I needed to feel.

Seven years have passed since her gentle death, but this will always be my spot at the Cathedral. I am sort of directionally challenged, but I can tell you that it is high up, on the 51st Street side and that at Christmas time, I have to back up to the crowds at the Manger and turn around to see it. It is simply glorious.

Joe R. Struble



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