St. Bernadette Catholic Church, Port St. Lucie, FL
The 21st Century in the USA continues to experience dramatic demographic shifts from large, north eastern cities to other regions. Ecclesiastical buildings, which formerly served immigrant populations, have closed making available the religious art that once adorned them. St. Bernadette’s Church was the lucky beneficiary of such a situation. Rambusch Stained Glass Studios designed and fabricated over forty new windows but also was able to repurpose seven other orphaned windows - an economical solution and one that saved the beautiful windows from destruction.
St. Bernadette Parish, the youngest Parish in the Palm Beach Diocese celebrated its first mass in a movie theater. Its congregation grew quickly and soon the Parish decided to build a permanent place of worship. Rambusch was commissioned to work with the church’s architects and a design team to create a comprehensive stained glass program for the new church. Rambusch completed the designs and was commissioned to fabricate and install the windows as permitted by the Parish’s finances.
The Rose Window, placed in the main façade, was the first and most critical element that Rambusch developed, since it set the tone for the rest of the church. Placed within the church’s towering façade, the window’s subject is the Parish’s patron, St. Bernadette to whom the Virgin appeared at Lourdes. Imagery often places Bernadette at the bottom of the scene, but in this instance, after collaborative sketch sessions, St. Bernadette was placed in a more prominent position in the window to recognize her role as the saint to whom the church is dedicated. The new Rose Window is supplemented by turn-of-the-century French windows reclaimed from a closed school in Massachusetts. In a phased approach to keep current with budget parameters, some forty plus windows were designed and fabricated by Rambusch. These include thirty clerestory windows and two transept windows.