‘Faith, Spirit, Sacrifice’ – The windows of St. David Lewis
When reading the suggestions of themes and ideas of what the window should represent it became clear to me that the window was about the church itself, reflecting its history and relationship to the community, both old and new. What came over very strongly to me and resonated as a theme for the design were the words:
‘Their faith was strong, their spirit relentless, their sacrifices great’
(Christian Ryan – Glass Artist)
During the latter part of 2014 the parishioners at St. David Lewis met to discuss the problem of the windows on the Sanctuary of the church. They were deteriorating and letting water in and something needed to be done. After much discussion the decision was made to replace the windows and to beautify the Sanctuary by replacing the plain windows with something more colourful. The community commissioned Mr. Christian Ryan, a well known glass artist of South Wales, to come up with a solution. In March 2016 that solution was finally installed.
The church is symbolised in the centre of the window with the circular form and pattern or communion plate representing the Sacrament of the Eucharist and Holy Communion, bring the people together in the One Body of Christ. This central motif frames all the other symbols.
The words ‘Faith, Sacrifice and Spirit’ are represented in the symbols of the Dove representing the Holy Spirit, the Cross calling to mind Christ’s Sacrifice for us on the Cross, and the symbol of the Jesuit order of which St. David Lewis was a member, representing the Faith of the Martyr Saint and the community dedicated to his name.
Beneath the Cross are root shaped symbols symbolising the Irish roots of the families within the community. The roots turn into the Cross, faded behind which there is a shamrock, a symbol of the faith being brought to the local area by Irish immigrants.
The multi-coloured flecks in the centre of the window represent the multi-cultural nature of the modern day community and the welcome they have received. And of course there also is the daffodil, the national flower of Wales reflecting their new home here in Wales.
Blue is a very dominant colour within the windows, not just because of its appealing nature. It is also the colour of the Virgin Mary a symbol of faith, truth and reflection.
The triangular composition reflect the the triangle on the rear wall of the Sanctuary tying the design in with the architecture of the building. The white areas of the design are made from handblown and rolled glass with bubbles and lines to obscure the view but let in the light. The central section of the window is made from handblown and rolled glass that is printed using traditional kiln fired paints.