Stories in Light
A Guide to the Stained Glass of the Basilica at the University of Notre Dame
- Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award: Travel, Silver Medal
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame contains one of the largest collections of late nineteenth-century French stained glass outside of France. The French Gothic–inspired church has forty-four large stained glass windows containing two hundred and twenty scenes. Today, more than 100,000 visitors tour the basilica each year to admire its architecture.
This informative guidebook tells the unique story of the windows: the improbable creation of a glassworks by cloistered Carmelite nuns in LeMans, France, and their stained glass that so perfectly illuminated the late-nineteenth-century French Catholic spirituality of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Stories in Light describes the windows according to their location in the building, from the narthex at the entrance to the Lady Chapel behind the altar. Full-color photographs, accompanied by commentary on the historical and theological importance of the glass and the iconography of the saints, provide a detailed view of the scenes found in each window. Stories in Light is an easy-to-read book written for all who visit the basilica and for readers everywhere who want to know more about the rich history and heritage of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart’s stained glass.
“This is an important guide for understanding one of the most monumental buildings at the University of Notre Dame. It is an exemplar of how a work of art can express a theological vision. The publication of Stories in Light is a great gift for friends of Notre Dame and of sacred art in general.” —Duncan Stroik, author of The Church Building as a Sacred Place
“This book is an intriguing guide to the Basilica’s stained glass windows and a must-have during any visit. Not only is it a convenient and informative resource to have while at the Basilica, it is also a worthy tool to take home for studying the many saints, angels, and scenes of the life of Christ represented here in a visually engaging way.” —David Judson, president of the Stained Glass Association of America
I have just finished reading Stories in Light. What a great joy to have such a well-researched, theologically-sound, and interesting book. I learned so much about the details of the windows, the theology and piety that undergirded them, French religious history in the nineteenth century, and the role of Edward Sorin in it all.” —Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame
"Stories of Light places the beauty of the windows into reader’s hands, whether the reader is standing in the Basilica, remembering their visit there, or enjoying the book at home." —from the preface
"Local scholars Cecilia Davis Cunningham and Nancy Cavadini draw upon their respective backgrounds in art history and theology to tell the story of one of the basilica’s true artistic treasures—and the many stories it contains—illuminating the ties between the founding of the University and the revival of a sacred art form that the authors say is both quintessentially religious and French to the depths of its soul." —Notre Dame Magazine
“A beautifully illustrated and impressively informative volume, Stories in Light: A Guide to the Stained Glass of the Basilica at the University of Notre Dame is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library. . . collections.” —Midwest Book Review
“The authors hope readers, whether at home or in the Basilica itself, use their book to pause, reflect and look closely at the artworks in front of them. ‘This way, you can learn something new every time you go in the Basilica,’ Cunningham says.” —South Bend Tribune
"This easy-to-read art history book is a model worthy of emulation at other Catholic universities, basilicas, cathedrals, and artistically significant parish churches so that their richness can be more fully unpacked and relished. Not only does this book offer an initiation into Western Christianity and the material civilization to which it gave rise, it also unassumingly serves as an instrument of evangelization." —Homiletic and Pastoral Review