The Meaning of Monastic Life

A stained glass window designed by Sr. Emmanuel Pieper, OSB


This stained glass window is the center of the interior gathering space for the chapel at St. Walburg Monastery. Designed by Sr. Emmanuel Pieper in 1989, the window reflects in its color and form the meaning of monastic life. As the vibrant window is the focal point of the gathering space, so its concepts are the focus of our life together. From right to left the meaning and blessings of the monastic life can be traced in the jewel-like glass which, like the daily reading of Scripture among us, lets the light show through.


To learn more about the symbols represented.

The Star

The sun design in the top of the central panel along with the star in the middle of the left panel remind us that our monastic vows encompass all of life's days and nights.

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The Dove

Deep concern for peace and justice issues is indicated by the dove with the olive branch and the scales of justice.

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Hospitality

The panel on the left depicts some of the special issues and directions of our community today. The spirit of hospitality and sharing is indicated by the pitcher, loaf and glasses at the top.

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Flower

Some special gifts of the St. Walburg monastery hilltop can be seen in the flower designs in the central panel and wild life (duck and rabbit) of the lower right hand panel.

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The Sun

The sun design in the top of the central panel along with the star in the middle of the left panel remind us that our monastic vows encompass all of life's days and nights.

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The Bells

This response to the Gospel invitation of Jesus is bound up with prayer (the incense and chant notation) and obedience to the Spirit of God and the monastic schedule (the bells). Thus through prayer, obedience and conversion through the monastic way of life, we enter into the vital heart of the monastic life, the search for God.

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The Cross

The crosses represent the redemption won for us by Jesus Christ. These symbols are common to the lives of all Christians.

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The Balance Scales

Deep concern for peace and justice issues is indicated by the dove with the olive branch and the scales of justice.

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Water

The panel on the right of the window shows our need for the saving waters of Baptism and the wheat and wine of Eucharist that surround it. Through that baptismal commitment we set out to follow the Christ with a penetrating inner peace.

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The CSPB Cross

The lower part of the window shows the cross of our father Benedict, a symbol widely known, originally from the back of the Benedictine jubilee medal.

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Stewardship

At the bottom left is a gold key symbolizing responsible stewardship so that the good things inherited from the Benedictines who have gone before us may be wisely used and shared in the present and preserved for those coming after us.

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Incense

This response to the Gospel invitation of Jesus is bound up with prayer (the incense and chant notation) and obedience to the Spirit of God and the monastic schedule (the bells). Thus through prayer, obedience and conversion through the monastic way of life, we enter into the vital heart of the monastic life, the search for God.

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The Heart

This response to the Gospel invitation of Jesus is bound up with prayer (the incense and chant notation) and obedience to the Spirit of God and the monastic schedule (the bells). Thus through prayer, obedience and conversion through the monastic way of life, we enter into the vital heart of the monastic life, the search for God.

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The Arches

The central panel takes us through the arches to the symbols of the monastic profession.

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Snake and Apple

The panel on the right of the window features the apple and the snake , symbols from Scripture of human weakness and our need for the saving waters of Baptism and the wheat and wine of Eucharist that surround it.

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Wheat, Grapes and Wine Cup

The panel on the right of the window features the apple and the snake, symbols from Scripture of human weakness and our need for the saving waters of Baptism and the wheat and wine of Eucharist that surround it.

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Animals

Some special gifts of the St. Walburg monastery hilltop can be seen in the flower designs in the central panel and wild life (duck and rabbit) of the lower right hand panel.

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