On any day Sister Rosemary Sieg, who has served at St. Mary Catholic School of Newton for 29 years, can walk to the atrium and see a stained glass window — a very special stained glass window — and reflect.
"The swirl is God and God working constantly in his creation," Sieg said. "St. Joseph came from that creation."
Sieg is a member of the congreation of St. Joseph's, a group that helped found St. Mary's about 130 years ago and is now immortalized in stained glass — a window designed and constructed by students at the school.
The window will be officially dedicated after a 5:30 p.m. Mass Oct. 1.
The design is by eighth grade student Alejandro Garcia in consultation with the congregation and Ruthie Spriggs, an artist from Wichita Arts Partners.
Garcia, who was in seventh grade when the project began, drew three designs before the final design was ready. Now, just like Sister Rosemary, he goes to the atrium to see the finished window and reflect.
"This feels good," Garcia told The Kansan. "Knowing that people can come and look at what I made. … I wanted to be part of St. Mary's."
Once the final design was complete, he and about 16 other students cut the glass and built the window with help from Spriggs.
The design represents the Sisters of St. Joseph's, a group that started in the 1650s.
The sisters helped get St. Mary's off the ground by teaching all eight grades.
"Without them, we would not have a school," said principal Phillip Stutey. "And this window is a daily reminder of all the sacrifices they gave the school. … It is just a great way to honor the sisters."
And while the project was designed to honor the sisters, it also educated students.
Fifth through eighth grade students from an elective art class worked on the project, learning how to measure and cut glass. Summer school students then put the final touches on the window on the final day.
"They not only learned a new medium and watched the glass come together, but they learned the story of the sisters," Stutey said.