Quebec designer Mr. Back provided his recommendations and artistic knowledge for our stained glass windows but their design was accomplished by Quebec artist Sylvie Bouchard.
A unique feature of Sylvie Bouchard's work is the thickness of highlight glass pieces. While the majority of each window is of flat panes, certain other pieces are 1-2 inches thick and serve as prisms, creating sparkling effects in bright sunlight. The blue pieces here are a good example.
One of the most striking features of the worship space is the immensity of colour and movement in each set of stained glass windows.
There are three sets of large windows, a kind of triptych, that create a unity of design and theme.
On the east side of the church, there is the Creation of the world.
Above the main entrance there is the Resurrection of the Lord.
Finally, on the west side, there is the Birth of the Church.
We thus have the actions of the three persons of the Trinity: Creation through God the Father, Redemption through God the Son, and Sanctification through God the Holy Spirit.
Creation - God the Father
The Creation of the world is depicted in the window on the east side. It has as its dominant feature, the figure of humankind before the rejection of God's will. The human creature stands out and surmounts the rest of creation which has been arranged as one layer or stratum of life superimposed on the other. This suggests the evolutionary aspect of God's action.
In the window the six days of creation as described in the first chapters of Genesis, are depicted. A great variety of colours are used to remind us of the innumerable species of life that God has created. At the bottom of the windows, we have fossils and the remains of pre-historic animals. Vegetable matter is suggested by the use of wheat and other plants. Various forms of animal life can also be seen— snakes, snails, fish, etc. In the sky, birds fly about, expressing the beauty of God's work.
In the upper section, there are other references to the story of creation. There is the separation of night from day and water from land. A kind of spiritual dome, the heavens, surmounts this, giving us the strong feeling that this dynamic life force emanates from the Creator who said that "it was good".
The middle south window over the entry depicts the Resurrection, the rising of Christ, the Son of God, from the tomb to the new and eternal life.
The artist gives us the early morning scene of the Easter event. To the left, near the bottom, there are dark brown colours representing the tomb. Rising out of the tomb is the glorified figure of Jesus, in the bright colours of gold and yellow. The red indicates the scars of the crucifixion. The east window recalls the creation of humankind and borrowing from the similar theme, this window acknowledges that through Christ's resurrection, all things have been made new again.
The Holy Spirit, symbolized by the dove, towers above all and envelops the people with a protective aura. The prominence of the colour red represents the fire, the zeal of God's love that sanctifies the whole of creation. Under the action of the Spirit of God, the Apostles respond with enthusiasm as they become the temples of God's indwelling. They reach upwards to receive the divine life of grace, represented by the vertical and oblique lines which descend from above.
There is more of a sense of movement in this window, expressed by the sharpness of the lines, the shapes and vivid colours. The small dark pieces of glass, closely formed together suggest the multiplex technology of the modern world, along with the great variety of people and cultures that make up the church. The blue trapezium shapes can be interpreted in two ways— they are openings in the heavens and at the same time are windows that remind us that the church should not look inward but rather reach out to the whole of humanity, following Christ's instruction to 'go and teach all nations'.
In the Blessed Sacrament chapel, to the right of the tabernacle, are three small windows that clearly display symbols of the Eucharist. Stalks of wheat, from which our offering of bread comes, and grapes on the vine, from which our offering of wine comes.
In windows in Mary's Shrine, she is depicted in two ways. In both cases the design is in keeping with the modern designs of the larger windows. In the left window, Mary is holding a flowering lily as she prays. The lily expresses her purity, that began with her Immaculate Conception.
The right window depicts an adult Mary walking in the wind. Her hair and gown are gently pulled by the wind, causing an almost angelic look. This considers her Assumption into heaven and her certainty as a woman of faith.