Last week my column talked about June as the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a great devotion within our Roman Catholic Church. This week I promised to tell you the story of how a stained glass window from the old Catholic church building in my home town of Paynesville ended up at my house and now is mounted in the wall of my log cabin on the farm. I believe God had a role to play and so this story goes to show how God is often at work for us in mysterious ways!
Our story begins in the early 1900’s when my grandfather, Blasius Scheierl, emigrated into the United States from Austria, bought a farm and settled several miles south of Paynesville. At that time, St. Louis Catholic Church was being built and so my grandfather was a charter member. William Scheierl (my dad) and son of Blasius grew up with the rest of the Scheierl family going to that church every Sunday. The one thing that always struck my father (Will) as a child was this round, stained-glass window of the Sacred Heart of Jesus perched just above the altar. To my father, Jesus always seemed to be gazing upon him and the whole congregation, giving them all a blessing.
Well, in about 1958 the old church had seen its better days and a new, larger St. Louis Church was being built. The old church building was sold and converted into an American Legion complete with a bar, stage, and small dance floor. Before this happened, however the old church was gutted out and the larger stained-glassed windows which ran along the sides were sold. My father noticed that the Sacred Heart window was not among them, rather it was walled up on the back side of building near the stage.
One evening dad was having a beer with one of his military buddies (we will call him H.H. for identity sake) and my dad pointing to the far end of the building and said, “There is a stained glass window behind that wall on the stage and if this building is ever torn down, I want it!” H.H. replied in disbelief, “There is no stained-glass window left in this building; they were all sold!” To which my father responded, “No, there is one that was forgotten behind that wall.” Thus a little bantering and argument ensued. The beer probably helped!
Flash forward 25 years and the American Legion eventually sold the building to a private antique shop owner, and as they were clearing things out and the new owners were tearing down some of the interior walls, who but H.H. happen to be standing there! And, low and behold, as the wall was being torn down they found a badly deteriorated stained-glass window of the Sacred Heart of Jesus! “Will Scheierl was right!” H.H. said.
Stay tuned for the “Rest of the story…” as Paul Harvey would say… next week. Words to live by: “Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out!”