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Lance Baer, left, and David Abraham, craftsmen with ICON Contracting, installed stained-glass windows July 9 depicting the life of St. Madeleine-Sophie Barat. The windows are currently in a meeting room at the Society of the Sacred Heart offices, but were originally installed in the Society’s Kenwood Convent in Albany, N.Y.
Lance Baer, left, and David Abraham, craftsmen with ICON Contracting, installed stained-glass windows July 9 depicting the life of St. Madeleine-Sophie Barat. The windows are currently in a meeting room at the Society of the Sacred Heart offices, but were originally installed in the Society’s Kenwood Convent in Albany, N.Y.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org | @aeternusphoto

Old stained-glass given new life

Society of Sacred Heart repurposes 150-year-old windows

Original invoice from stained-glass windows installed at Society of Sacred Heart's convent chapel in 1869.
In the late 1860s, the artisans at Alphonse Friedrick & Bro. Painted & Stained Glass-works in Brooklyn, N.Y., delicately and meticulously crafted and installed the stained-glass windows for the new chapel at the Society of the Sacred Heart’s Kenwood Convent in Albany, N.Y.

Nearly 150 years later, their workmanship is on display again, repurposed as the Society renovates its U.S.-Canada provincial headquarters in Midtown St. Louis, near Saint Louis University.

Four arched, stained-glass windows will greet visitors entering the Society’s new conference area from Forest Park Avenue. Another circular stained-glass window will greet visitors using the main entrance, on the wall behind the reception desk and, on the other side, the focal point of the provincial office chapel.

The windows had been in storage since the society closed its motherhouse at Kenwood, then came out of storage after the office renovation was underway. A half-wall, with steel studs and roughed-in for electric and cable, already was in place for the conference room, but its construction turned into demolition to make way for the stained-glass beauties.

“This is cool,” said ICON Contracting’s Dan Rainey, hard at work on the installation on a recent day. “It’s an honor to work on something like this; this is the fun stuff.”

An invoice from 1869 details the costs at $1,421.54 minus $170 Frederick forgot to charge for the window vents. In addition to the repurposed windows, the Society had three windows in various states of disrepair. The sheer weight of the windows, with lead amongst the stained-glass, was causing them to crumble. The windows were carefully crated before the Society gave them to the archdiocesan Reclamation Center, now at Cardinal Rigali Center, for repurposing.

“They are so fragile,” said Rainey, who otherwise simply described the windows as “gorgeous.”

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