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Stained Glass Windows at Assumption Honor 1953 Tornado Victims

Monday, June 10, 2013

 

Three beautiful stained glass windows were unveiled as remembrance of the devastating toll exacted by the 1953 Tornado. Photo: Assumption College.

Just over 60 years ago, the historic tornado that devastated the Worcester area took three lives at Assumption College. Now, three beautiful stained glass windows have been erected in remembrance.

Assumption College dedicated the windows that were once part of the College and Preparatory School’s Greendale campus chapel, which was damaged 60 years ago by a tornado. One of the restored windows to be unveiled is called “The Tornado Window,” in remembrance of the three Assumption community members who perished in the June 9, 1953, storm.

To see photos from the 1953 tornado, go here.

Assumption College President Francesco Cesareo was joined by the Most Rev. Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester and Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) President Gail Carberry at the unveling. (The Greendale campus is now home to QCC.) Bishop McManus blessed all three windows.

An important part of Assumption's history

“These windows represent an important part of Assumption’s history," said President Cesareo. "The repair and installation of these unique pieces of art, with their intricate detail and luminous beauty, establishes a fitting memorial to the faculty and students of Assumption Prep throughout the Assumption College campus. Displaying these beautiful windows reminds us of the history of our college and our close connection with Assumption Prep. The past intersects with the present as we reflect upon the spiritual truths embodied in these windows and which continue to be central to the life of Assumption College.”

In 1950, 12 stained-glass windows were installed in Christ the King Chapel on Assumption’s Greendale campus to commemorate the centennial of the Augustinians of the Assumption, the order founded by Fr. Emmanuel d’Alzon. The 15’ x 6’ windows were crafted in Paris by artist Raphael Lardeur. Each of the leaded glass windows is comprised of up to 18 panels placed in a metal frame, and prominently features the figure of Christ.

The 1953 tornado destroyed not only the windows but also the campus. The College was relocated in 1956 to its current home at 500 Salisbury St., but the Prep School remained in Greendale. Lardeur created a second set of windows, following the original sketches, and the windows were reinstalled in the mid-1950s in Christ the King Chapel. The windows stayed even after the Prep School closed in 1970 and QCC bought the property.

The first window, Christ the King, will be in the Testa Science Center Atrium. This window’s restoration is a gift of Fred Shea '73 and his wife Susan. Entrance of Christ to Jerusalem is the second window, and is now stationed in Testa’s north entrance. It is a gift of the W.E. Aubuchon Co. family. “The Tornado Window,” Christ Calming the Sea, was unveiled in the south entrance of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit and is a gift of Assumption Prep’s classes of 1953 and 1954. The window has been dedicated to Assumption’s tornado victims, Father Engelbert Devincq, A.A.; and two members of the Antonian Sisters of Mercy, Sister Marie St. Jean de Dieu Martel, S.A.M., and Sister Marie Ste. Hélène Simard, S.A.M.
 

 

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