olmc exterior pastel style
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Roman Catholic Church
Pastor  Fr. Walter J. Ptak
Munich Studios Stained Glass
This page is part of a continuing effort to preserve, document & share 
the art, architecture & history of our beloved Parish.

  Click any of the images below to enlarge

OLMC Stained Glass Windows Hidden Since 1958 Revealed!

St. Cecilia 
at the Organ
If you can remember being in the Mt.Carmel Choir loft before 1958, then these windows might look familiar to you. For the rest of us, these images are a wonderful revelation. In 1958, the "new" Church organ was installed & it's sound pipes were enclosed in two large room sized boxes which covered over these two beautiful windows. The stained glass in the two windows was removed & replaced from the outside for restoration in the 1970's & then covered over with plexiglass storm windows. After only a few years the plastic covering fogged & yellowed, obscuring the  images from the outside. This left the window art hidden from inside & outside the church building.

In 1998 a professional photographic team documented all other original windows in the church but were unable to capture those in the choir loft. The organ boxes were built flush against the choir loft wall, allowing only the depth of the window well, less than four inches, to access the stained glass image. Even if the plexiglass were removed, the windows would have to be lighted evenly from the inside, nearly impossible given less than four inches clearance, not to mention fighting the reddish light which illuminates the front of the church at night. It might make the bricks look good but does not help make accurate color photos. Two years later, in the year 2000, members of the same professional team reassembled & gave considerable thought on how the hidden windows could be captured at the least expense - since their documenting of OLMC's art & architecture is for passion not profit.

Their solution was a combination of old fashioned logic & new high technology. Clues to the photography method are seen on the edges of the photos. A custom rig was designed & built using two mirrors, which reflect the window's light to a camera on top of the pipe box & capturing the window in numerous three inch high horizontal slices. The film showing these slices was then scanned to digital files, then retouched & reassembled into the composite images you see. (Editor's Note - Special thanks to the continuing efforts of this special anonymous volunteer & all the volunteers who have donated thousands of hours and dollars to help preserve OLMC's history). 

St. Kazimierz 
finds inspiration

click images below to enlarge
looking east toward the altars at twilight
 the main altar at night
The Five Joyful Mysteries - located behind the main altar
Annunciation Visitation
Nativity Presentation
Finding  in the Temple   Chalice &  Grapes - beside Mary's altar

Stained Glass Images & Stories Continue Scroll Down for More
Our Lady of Mt.Carmel's stained glass reveals details hidden for generations

If you remember the summer of 1998, you might recall seeing some large bright lights around the church at night. In July, the mysterious lights were set up in a different area every day after dark for a week. By dawn they were

Professional Photographer Steve Karr and Lighting Director Carl Blair captured some of the subtle beauty of OLMC's windows during a week of all night photo sessions in July 1998.

Steve used the same large format camera and film he does to shoot automotive advertisements. "35mm cameras are fine for family snapshots. I really need the extra film size that a 4x5 camera provides. That way I can capture the wonderful details that you just can't see from the ground." Lighting expert Carl Blair provided the artificial light that was consistent for all the windows. "I try to help all the windows look their best, professional film has much finer sensitivity than video, but your eyes are even better. Careful lighting can help the camera see more like our eyes do". 

Mr.Karr was very impressed with the classic old world artistry of the windows, made in 1915 by "The Munich Studio" of Chicago. Steve Karr's photograph of the OLMC Nativity window was turned into the OLMC Christmas card. The anonymous sponsor of the stained glass photo sessions hopes that  "Modern technology will allow people anywhere to see up close these beautiful paintings of light & faith".

Click the window above for enlargements & details

The Life of Christ & Lives lived in Christ
St. Adelbert (Sw. Wojciech) Jesus & John the Baptist
The Holy Family Christ Gives Keys to Peter
Our Lady of Lourdes St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
St.Stanislaus Kostka Jesus & the Children
St. John Cantius St. Anthony w/ Infant of Prague

Our Lady of Mt.Carmel's stained glass studied by restoration expert
In May of 2001, the much admired stained windows were carefully examined by Neal A. Vogel of Restoric LLC, a Chicago based organization that has consulted on thousands of historic church art restorations across the US. 

Mr. Vogel spent two days inside & outside OLMC, climbing ladders, looking through binoculars, writing detailed notes & photographing window details for an exhaustive report.
"I examined each window personally as close as possible to determine it's condition. I have personally examined the good & bad work of dozens of stained glass restoration studios, I am not associated with any of them. I have no financial interest in what group ends up doing the work. That way, I can objectively guide congregations to several different companies doing quality work."

Mr. Vogel was interviewed for a TV documentary about OLMC's stained glass windows. "The OLMC windows are unique. They combine the sentimental mystical realism of the Munich style figures in the center, surrounded by the American style opalescent colored glass frame. In all the thousands of churches I have examined, I have only seen this combination used one other time, at the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows in Chicago. That of course was built by a much wealthier congregation. The people of OLMC must be very proud of the great sacrifies the founders of this Parish made to built this impressive Church. The Stained Glass here is very extensive & presented beautifully. I estimate 90% of the original glass is still here, with the maintenance & some restoration, the windows can be here another 100 years." 
* Editors Note:to learn about the company that made the colored glass that surrounds the center figures visit the Kokomo Opalescent Glass Co.

click on images for a larger view
Restoration Expert 
Mr.Neal Vogel
click on the links below to hear 
Mr.Vogel speak about OLMC's 
Munich Studios Stained Glass Windows
  • munich studios founders.mp3
  • paint methods.mp3
  • cartoon.mp3
  • opal glass.mp3
  • assembly.mp3
  • style.mp3
  • cost of windows.mp3
  • condition today.mp3
  • storm windows 1.mp3
  • storm windows 2.mp3
  • storm window 3.mp3
  • all interview content © 2001 OLMC &/or Neal Vogel
    Click any image above or below  to enlarge
    The Lamb of God
    beside the 
    Sacred Heart Altar
    From the OLMC Archive:
    The Original Receipt
    for a shipment of 17 
    stained glass windows.
    Total Cost 
    in 1915 $1,575.00
    Astounding good deal!
    OLMC's own Christmas Card & Centennial Commemorative Coin Now Available at the Rectory
    Mt.Carmel's own 
    Nativity Stained Glass Window,
    hidden for over 50 years,
    is now available as a
    high quality fancy die cut
    Christmas Card
    Card & Coin 
    for larger 
    images & details

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