Like many Gothic cathedrals, stained glass windows are an important feature of Holy Rosary. There are 21 significant windows with pictorial displays.
The oldest window is on the east wall of the Sanctuary next to the shrine of the Blessed Virgin—the Church Triumphant with the Risen Christ among saints and martyrs. The most gazed-at stained glass images must be the clerestory windows depicting Christ and the apostles in the sanctuary above the altar. The best-known windows whose heritage the Cathedral shares with all of Canada, are the Guido Nincheri windows.
Nincheri is recognised as one of the most prolific religious artists of Canada for his large murals, frescoes and stained glass art. His work can be found in over 60 churches in North America. He created a series of five windows for the Cathedral over a span of a dozen years.
It was in 1941 Archbishop W. M. Duke directed the Rector, Father John Miles, to solicit estimates for five stained glass windows by Guido Nincheri. It would take 13 years for the work to be completed.
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
On the north side of the west transept, this window was the first of the five Nincheri windows to be installed in the year 1941. Our Lady with the Child in vibrant colours dominate; both Mother and Child hold a rosary in hand. At their feet are St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena, traditional saints of the Rosary. The window was chosen by Canada Post in 1997 for its annual Christmas stamp and a plaque commemorates this fact. View window.
Baptism of the Lord
Archbishop Duke, when ordering a window of the Baptism of the Lord in 1941, was eager to duplicate a window in the Cathedral of St. John, New Brunswick, from where the Archbishop had come to Vancouver. Professor Nincheri’s rich colours make it unique. The location of the window was determined by the proximity of the Baptistery which has since been moved to the west transept. The window was commissioned and completed in January 1954. View window.
Jesus Heals the Sick This window along with the Baptism of Our Lord were commissioned in 1950 and completed in 1954. They were shipped out of the Nicheri Studios via Canadian Pacific Express in January that year. Due to cold blustery conditions, the windows were not installed till March that year.
Jesus with the Children
The depiction of Jesus with little children was one of the original themes. It would appear that the hand of Jesus has been damaged over the years and repaired by inferior craftsmen. The tremendous colours, so characteristic of Nincheri, are particularly vibrant here.
The commisioning of this window which had been earmarked ten years earlier, was finally confirmed in 1951. It was completed and shipped out of the Nincheri studios in November 1953 and installed later that year. With its bright colours and interesting composition, the window is a fitting memorial of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, body and soul into heaven at the end of her earthly life. We are reminded of our faith in the resurrection of the body and of life everlasting: she is model, exemplar, and hope for the Church. View window.