Vely Stained Glass

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Print Edition: 09/04/1998
parish notes

By Ed Langlois
PORTLAND Stained-glass windows have been a part of St. Therese Church since construction of its first church in 1955. The tradition continues at the outer Northeast Portland church. The original church had four panels of stained glass. When the new church was built in 1980, several of those original windows were incorporated into the design. Designers added abstract panels to the walls above the altar.
This summer, stained-glass artist Gerry Veley completed a six-panel depiction of Christian initiation.

Veley, who was an apprentice in Germany and England, was chosen by a board of parishioners headed by Father Louis Urbanski, pastor of St. Therese since 1988. The large window is at the rear of the church and looms at approximately 14 by 20 feet. The depiction of baptismal waters signifies a connection between the cleansing that occurs at the baptismal font just north of the window and the cleansing that occurs in the reconciliation chapel, just to the south. The water in the design signifies water's life-giving, cleansing and invigorating qualities.

Figures in the window are realistic, rather than abstract. They reflect the recipients of baptism, people of all nations whom the Lord has commanded to teach and in turn baptize. They are alert and active. The basic archetypes of Scripture are present - water, sky, light, spirit, liberation, burial, covenant, people, life. 'It's nice to have it completed,' says Father Urbanski, who launched the project in 1992. 'The response from the people has been very favorable.' Wood framing and accent work was done by parishioners Pete Mastrantonio and Les Henderson.

Press Release:

Gerry Veley has been commissioned to design, fabricate and install the stained glass for the new Providence Newberg Medical Center Reflection Room.  The window measures approximately nine feet high and ten feet wide.  The abstract design will be both quiescent and introspective in its expression. The design and the choice of glass will offer the occupants of the Reflection Room privacy while at the same time allowing the outside environment to interact with the interior of the Reflection Room.

Mahlum Architects are the designers for the medical center and its interiors.  Michael Smith is the principal-in-charge and Victoria Nichols is the project manager.  Mahlum Architects, founded in 1938, is a firm of 90 people in Portland and Seattle.  The firm is committed to creating enduring and poetic architecture to enrich the human experience.

Over the past 20 years Gerry Veley has designed and fabricated numerous windows for the Sister of Providence including, Providence Medical Center on 47th and N.E. Glisan Street, Milwaukie Providence Hospital,  St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, Mother Joseph Care Center in Olympia, Washington and Providence Office Park in N.E. Portland.