Artist/Studio: William Montgomery, c.1916.
Location: Kilmore, Victoria.
Building: St Patrick’s Catholic Church.
Memorial: Mary Durkin (Suffer little children two light window).
Donor: William Durkin.
Photos dated: 14 Dec 2013.
“DR. PHELAN AT KILMORE.|
STAINED-GLASS WINDOWS UNVEILED.
St. Patrick’s Church, Kilmore, received additional ornamentation on Sunday last, when two beautiful stained-glass windows were unveiled. The visit of the Bishop of Sale to his friend, Fr. Martin, was taken advantage of to render the function more important. The subjects of the windows are the Prodigal Son’s return and Our Lord encouraging little children to come to Him.
Dr. Phelan, in the course of his address, said that some years ago, when he was Dean of Melbourne, he was sent by the Archbishop to unveil the first of a series of stained-glass windows which their zealous parish priest inaugurated. That window, in the sacred Heart Chapel, was erected to commemorate the memory of their late parish priest, Fr. Farrelly, who for an entire generation ruled this important parish. That window, its beauty and harmony of design and colour, so pleased a generous member of the congregation, Mr. William Durkin, that he determined, in addition to his other gifts, to furnish the entire Gospel side of the church with similar works of ecclesiastical art.
“By a happy coincidence,” continued his Lordship, ‘I am here to-day to point out the double lesson contained in this latest gift to this historic church. A stained-glass window which contains a single figure of a saint or angel, no matter how beautiful, is worthless from a spiritual point of view unless it embodies an idea that preaches to us a lesson. The two windows unveiled to-day have this advantage, that if we study the subjects, and the Gospel narrative which supplied material to the artist, we will find them pointing to the two roads, and the only two roads, which lead to heaven. Everyone within those walls, everyone who in the past has entered this church, or may in future, will arrive at the gate of heaven either by the road of innocence as signified by Our Lord in setting up childhood as our model, or by the road of penitence as illustrated by the return of the Prodigal Son.”
The most rev. preacher dwelt at some length on the two lessons contained in the subjects of the windows. With regard to Our Divine Lord’s love for little children, he said that Gospel truth was brought home to all in a most practical manner by the late saintly Pope Pius X., when he enjoined on all parish priests the obligation of preparing children for First Communion at an earlier age than was the custom in former times; and his encouragement to all to approach the altar, not only monthly or weekly, but even daily unless they were conscious of grievous sin. With regard to the lesson contained in the return of the Prodigal, his Lordship said that the mind of the most profound philosopher could never conceive the act of infinite mercy implied in the parable. As men, we could understand how the innocence and humility of childhood would open the gate of heaven to us, but it was beyond our limited comprehension to take in the fact that sin, when repented of, not only opened to us the door of eternal bliss, but obtained for us a welcome not given to the innocent! We could not believe this unless we had from Divine lips the assurance that “there shall be more joy in heaven for one sinner that doth penance than ninety-nine just that need not penance.” The following is a description of the windows, which were executed by Mr. W. Montgomery, Alfred-place, Melbourne:-
In the front window the wanderer is seen on his knees, in torn and ragged raiment, and with bowed head and outstretched hands, in the act of saying, “Father, I am not worthy to be called thy son.” The father, full of pity and joy at the return of the Prodigal, hastens to raise up and welcome the long-lost, wandering son. In the distance, the brother, with hand shading his eyes, looks upon the scene with anything but unmixed joy. The fields in which the sheep browse symbolise the quiet, peaceful life which the Prodigal deserted for the riotous pleasures of the outside world.
The second window illustrates Our Lord and the little children, who press around Him for His blessing. Our Lord is represented seated with one hand outstretched in blessing and the other resting on the shoulder of a fair-haired child leaning on His knee. The mothers of the children press forward eagerly to gain benediction of the Saviour for their little ones. Behind Our Lord stands two of His Apostles, who look with no very friendly eyes upon the importunate mothers pressing their little ones on their Master’s notice.
In these windows, as in others in St. Patrick’s, an effort has been made to get away, as far as the nature of the material and exigencies of decorative art will permit, from the extreme conventional treatment which was at one time thought to be necessary for stained-glass. The drawing has none of that stiffness and angularity formerly thought indispensable, but it aims at giving a clear and unambiguous rendering of he subject illustrated. The colouring is rich without being crude and glaring, and the colour tones are harmonious throughout. The glass used is rich in quality and texture. The canopies and bases which form a frame to the subjects, are of an architectural character in that style of Gothic known as Decorated.”