Harry Clarke Window, St Brigid's, Castleknock

Harry Clarke Window - Click to view full size imageOn 27th April 1927, R. F. Brooks of this parish placed an order with Harry Clarke for a stained glass window. The window cost £270. Today, the work of Harry Clarke may be seen in churches and buildings throughout our land. They make places look beautiful; they teach us about the faith; and they help us to worship God. When the light shines through the glass in this window we see three saints: Saint George, Saint Hubert and Saint Luke.

Saint George appears on the left. He was one of the first martyrs - he died for his faith in the 3rd century. He is the patron saint of soldiers, of boy scouts and of England. He is seen wearing soldier's armour. We know very little about him. There are many legends about him. One of the nicest stories is shown in the bottom of the window and is told in a book called "The Golden Legend". It tells how Saint George was a knight who rescued a maiden from a dragon. Many people were baptised and became Christians when they saw this. The badge of Saint George is a red cross on a white background.

The story of Saint Hubert is a beautiful one. He is here in the middle of the window. As he grew up, he was a bit wild. He loved hunting in the forests near where he lived. One day, he committed the sin of hunting on Good Friday instead of fasting and praying. As he was hunting, he came face to face with a stag. The legend says that the stag had a crucifix between its antlers reminding him of Jesus dying on the cross. At the bottom of the window we see Hubert stopped in his tracks at the sight of the stag and the vision of Christ on the cross. Hubert felt warned. He changed his ways. He became a Christian and lived for 10 years in the forest as a hermit. Later in life he was ordained as a priest and became a Bishop. All of this happened in the 8th century in the Forest of Ardennes.

Saint Luke is at the right of the window. He was a Greek doctor. He wrote one of the four gospels which tell us the good news of Jesus Christ. He also wrote the Acts of the Apostles which tell us about the early Church. One writer says that Luke lived until he was 84 years old and that he died in Greece. It is no surprise that because he was a doctor he is the patron saint of doctors and surgeons. But the story does not end there. He is recognised as a great artist with words, and his writings inspired many masterpieces of art. One legend says that he painted a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That is what we see him doing in the bottom of the window. His symbol is a winged ox.

Stained glass helps us to understand the meaning of being a Christian. Just as sunlight shines through the glass, so a Christian, a saint even, is someone through whom the light of Jesus Christ is shining.

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