In the chapel of the Jesuit Residence on the corner of Franklin and Alviso streets, you’ll find six panes of stained glass. A view from outside only hints at the warmth and brilliance with which they bathe the interior. The glass has journeyed to a new home since it was first commissioned in 1975 by William Rewak, S.J., then rector of the Jesuit community at Santa Clara University.
For decades the Jesuits and their chapel resided in Nobili Hall, built in 1930 and named for the first president of Santa Clara. (That’s the groundbreaking, right.) The new Jesuit Residence was constructed in 2006 to be “a place open to campus to develop relationships,” says Gerdenio “Sonny” Manuel, S.J., who previously served as rector of the Jesuit community.
In Nobili, the six panes were afforded space to create a horizontal landscape across the back wall—like we’ve re-created here on the page. In the Jesuit Residence Oratory, the order has been shuffled a bit to fit the space.
The new layout elicits a different effect—these panes with the sun create a spark of color rather than a cascade of light. “It has a tremendous depth of intensity,” says James Blaettler, S.J., minister of the Jesuit community.
Roger Hogan of Oregon’s Hogan Studios designed a sunrise to represent the “growing light of Christ.” Look, and you’ll see swirls from Hogan’s tools in the glass.
The technique used is dalle de verre—French for “glass slab”—and involves laying thick and uneven glass in epoxy resin. This produces deeper colors—and very heavy windows, weighing about 10 pounds per square foot.
The old chapel in Nobili Hall is now home to Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship—which fosters global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity. While blinds have replaced the stained glass in the room, sculpted angels still keep watch, and a 10-foot-tall wooden cross anchors one wall.