Built St. Louis > > MidCentury Modernism > > Emil Frei Stained Glass > > St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church

St. Joan of Arch Catholic Church
- South City
Architect: A.F. & Arthur Stauder
Date: 1958

Stained Glass: Emil Frei Stained Glass Company
Design: William Schickel
Bapistry window by Siegfried Reinhardt

St. Joan of Arc Church is built in a fairly stock 1950s architectural style, brought to vivid life by the Frei Company's work, inside and out.

The church's massive front entrance is dominated by a giant mosaic mural depicting the parish's namesake saint. The work is rooted in the Deco-influenced style developed by Robert Harmon and Emil Frei Jr.

Inside, Mr. Schickel paints the sanctuary in shades of orange, red and blue.

Two styles are employed across the many sanctuary windows. The great room is dominated by its upper windows, large vertical strips of glass decorated in a "primitivist" style similar to that used in the Bishop DuBourg High School Chapel, but with a far more vivid color pallette. The imagery is flattened and roughly drawn, swirling the abstract and concrete together. The designs are entirely rendered in black paint applied and baked onto colored glass panels.

The western windows illustrate symbology of the liturgical calendar, from Christmas and Epiphany, to Lent, Passiontide, Easter and Pentecost. The eastern group represents saints Joseph, Mary, church namesake Joan of Arc, city namesake Louis, Peter, Paul, John and Michael.

The lower registers feature plain colored glass panels, each bearing a single emblem in the center - most commonly the fleur de lis, emblem of both St. Louis the saint and the city. This motif recurs in the windows separating the lobby and sanctuary, where small squares of colored glass are set into large areas of clear glass - an approach previously used in the cry rooms at St. Gabriel the Archangel.

The final addition to the church was the baptistry window, designed by Siegfried Reinhardt around 1960. The baptistry was originally in a small space in the front of the church, and this window faced north, rarely if ever receiving direct sunlight. Its rich colors were specifically designed with that limitation in mind.

A post-Vatican II redesign eliminated the separate baptistry (the space now serves as the church library) and relocated the baptismal font into the main sanctuary. The window was relocated along with it.

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