Painted Churches: The Annotated Stained Glass of St. Mary’s

High Hill, Texas, is home to one of the most beautiful Painted Churches of Texas: The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church.  Known as St. Mary’s, it was built in 1906 by its parish of German settlers. 

There are 35 stained glass windows in all. Here are some photos of selected images–panels singled out for their particular beauty.  The captions are quoted from a 2006 Guide to the Interior, printed for the church’s 100th anniversary. Photos by Steve Dudley.

Crown and Cross: The crown symbolizes the reward of the faithful in the life after death to those who believe in the crucified Savior: “Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

Chalice with Grapes and Leaves: The chalice and grapes are symbols of the Blood of Christ and signify the sacrament of the Eucharist; as the grape is used to make wine, and becomes the Blood of Christ, which is received from the chalice.”

Jesus Teaching the Children: Jesus responding to his disciples said: “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.  Then he embraced them, placing his hands on them” (Mark 10:13-16).

Triangle with Dove: The equilateral triangle is symbolic of the Trinity–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  The three distinct angles combine to make one complete figure.  The dove represents the presence of the Holy Spirit coming from the Father and the Son. 

Cross with Trumpets: The trumpets near the cross are symbolic of the day of judgment, the resurrection, and the call to worship.

Eye in Triangle – Providence of God: The eye in the center signifies the all-seeing eye of God that looks out from the triangle of the Trinity. 

Three Red Roses: The red rose is a symbol of martyrdom. The two fully opened roses are symbolic of the life completely devoted to God – even to the point of death. The bud that is just opening is symbolic of a life just opening to the truths of the faith – and yet willing to die for it.

Ray of light on the pew: This shot is interesting because of the way the ribbon of red light hits the pew. I can picture this being a welcome distraction to young churchgoers sitting through a long mass.  
Last two photos by Jenny Dudley. All others by Steve Dudley.

For more on Painted Churches, see “Painted Churches of Texas” and “On the Grounds of the Painted Churches.


  1. Thanks not only for beautiful pictures of the stained glass windows but including the explanation, too. Have a blessed Christmas with your family, Jenny.

    Liked by 2 people

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