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St. Mary's Stain Glass Now On Display

Posted on Friday, February 25, 2022

The Grout Museum District, Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum has received a very meaningful donation courtesy of the former parishioners of St. Mary's Catholic Church and School and Kelly Sullivan, granddaughter and grandniece of Waterloo's five Sullivan Brothers who died during World War II.

A pair of the large painted glass windows from St. Mary's Catholic Church, where the Sullivan brothers attended church and grade school, are incorporated into the "Veterans Memorial Area" of the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum, which also acquired a couple of church pews. The windows have been illuminated and placed on either side of a lighted scroll of names of Iowans who died in military service, according to museum staff. The Veterans Memorial Area is a chapel-type corner of the museum, featuring the flags of various U.S. service branches, where visitors may pause for reflection. It is an appropriate remembrance to the brothers and all other Iowans who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation and the ideals of liberty and justice for all to have a part the Sullivans' home parish in this place of honor. The windows are opaque glass, contain no religious symbols, but are still reminders of the brothers' faith-based upbringing, which is a matter of historic fact.

St. Mary's closed as a worship site in 2003; the school closed a few years prior to that. The city of Waterloo took title to the property two or three years ago through court action after it became tax delinquent and fell into disrepair during a period of private ownership. In December the city granted access through a local contractor allowing people connected to the church to save as many items from the church and school as possible.

The Grout incurred significant expenses to put the windows in place and property illuminate them. Our expenses total about $3,900 for a private welder to fabricate steel framing for the delicate windows, and for electrical and lighting expenses to backlight them.

The Grout is gratefully accepting donations to defray those costs, with an appropriate recognition for donors. Donations may be made to Grout Museum Inc. with a notation "St. Mary's Project" and brought or mailed to the museum, 503 South St., Waterloo, 50701. Questions may be directed to Pat Kinney at the Grout at (319) 234-6357.