Between 1942 and 1952, the Emil Frei stained glass studios in St. Louis, Missouri produced Sacred Heart’s glorious windows.
Established in 1900 by Emil Frei, Sr., the award-winning company reached it’s height under Emil Frei, Jr. in the 1940s with over 70 artists turning out windows at a rate of almost one church per week. Robert Frei, grandson of the founder, assumed presidency of the company from 1967 to 1990. His son Stephen is the fourth generation of the family to head the studio.
At the time of Sacred Heart’s dedication, only the rose window over the main entrance and the two large transept windows were in place. The rose window is entitled “The Window of Creation.” The eight petal-shaped windows represent the creation of the the angels with eight identical angels dressed in richly embroidered robes. The surrounding quatrefoil windows tell the story of the creation of the world. With its tiny segments of deep blue glass shot through with brilliant red and yellow, Sacred Heart’s rose window is reminiscent of the glass of French Gothic cathedrals.
The window over the east transept entrance is dedicated to the priesthood. A priest offers the Sacrifice of the Mass before the crucified Christ. Over the west entrance, the Christian family is honored. A couple is joined in matrimony before the Holy Family and the Trinity. These windows demonstrate the evolution of the Emil Frei artists toward a more modernistic style.
The eight large nave windows, acquired in 1947, contain panels describing three themes. The top panels of each window tell the story of creation beginning with “the Spirit of God.” Second from the top, the panels illustrate the life and teachings of Christ. The two bottom panels enumerate the spiritual blessings promised to St. Margaret Mary for all who actively lived up to the challenge of his love.
The final windows were installed in 1952. The twelve windows in the clerestory illustrate the the ministry of angels to humankind. Four small transept windows interpret the traditional “Four Last Things;” Death, Judgement, Heaven, and Hell.