The impact and influence of the Blessed Mother is felt throughout the Catholic faith, and certainly in its art.At the retreat center of the Sisters Devoted to the Sacred Heart in Santa Ana, noted liturgical artist Isabel Piczek recently installed six stained-glass windows that illustrate the impact of Mary’s life in the life of Christ. The windows — a project based on an original idea of Sister Ida Peterfy, the foundress of the Society — are in the convent chapel dedicated to Mary, the mother of universal creation, and complement Piczek’s work in the main chapel: a 980-square-foot mural of the Cosmic Heart of Christ. Isabel Piczek (and her late sister Edith) have designed liturgical pieces in stained glass, mosaics and murals for more than 50 years in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and beyond. For these new Marian windows, Isabel included her detailed descriptions (included below), based on her scriptural research and theology.“These six surfaces give visible expression to some of the greatest mysteries of our faith,” Isabel states. “And one cannot help to see how much God truly loved the world.”The Annunciation“In one breathless moment, Mary became the Mother of God until eternity. The lilies she holds are symbols of purity as the Holy Spirit descends from above. The towering figure of Gabriel, the Lord’s messenger, towers above her as the galaxies and stars are a reminder that the Incarnation is for the whole of creation.”The Visitation“Elizabeth clearly realizes the sight of divine presence in Mary, that she is visited by the Mother of God. Mary proclaims her Magnificat as the figures on top portray generations of intelligent beings who surround the divine mother and come from far-away places — some not yet known to us.”The Birth“This window is a symbolic suggestion of virgin birth as the body of the Christ child appears lifted by light and is in a crucified position. Mary shows great joy as her God given task is completed. Joseph, in total amazement, looks up praising God while protecting Mary and the Child. Humans and angels come to worship.”Cana“It is not by chance that Mary actually caused this first and significant miracle. The image of the cross overshadows the scene showing both Mary and Christ willing to accept the future. The figure with the cup is the wine steward holding the Eucharistic chalice, and the Cana couple symbolizes the divine bridegroom.”Mary under the Cross“Mary is shown totally uniting herself with Christ, standing under the cross, and his blood is anointing her for her tremendous mission. Her one hand shows consent and with the other she embraces John and wraps him in her cloak. John’s hands reach out toward the stars swirling around the universal cross.”The Assumption“Incorrupt, Mary’s body is raised like that of Christ as she ascends toward an all-embracing heart shaped light. She leaves behind an earth-shaped globe and an empty tomb. Some apostles look from above, but clouds appear symbolizing the divine presence. There are no stars or galaxies; she does not ascend into the sky.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0510/piczer/{/gallery}