Volume 122, Number
Decorated windows for church’s 50th anniversary
BY RICHARD PETERSON
When St. William’s Catholic Church in Maddock celebrates its 50th anniversary Friday, Sept. 9 parishioners and guests will be able to view some unique artwork which decorates the windows of the church.
Helen Axtman and Debbie Dosch collaborated to paint murals on 15 windows so they look as though they’re stained glass. The pictures are painted on the windows with special paint. Lead strips and liquid lead are added to make them look like stained glass masterpieces. Helen paid for the paint for the first four window murals herself and the parish paid for the paint to finish the job.
Helen began the process in March and finished the windows in July, with two weeks off for a vacation trip. "It was a lot of hours," she admits. "But we didn’t charge for our time."
When Fr. Julian Kupisz saw the first mural on a triple window he remarked to Helen that all the rest of the windows should have similar treatment.
"I’ll give you 30 years to do it," he said. When Helen protested that her family’s longevity history probably wouldn’t allow that, Fr. Kupisz said, "OK then, I’ll give you 11 years."
Helen, with help from Debbie, did it in five months.
Deb did some of the painting and obtained four patterns from the Internet.
The patterns are no bigger than a regular sheet of paper and Helen paints the larger image on the windows by simply looking at the pattern. The artists used many different colors and had to mix some of them to come up with fleshtones and darker hair.
When sunlight floods through the painted windows they look exactly like leaded stained glass art.
Eight of the windows are painted with symbolic items, such as the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Jesus the Magnificent, the Holy Spirit (a dove), a rainbow star, the sacred heart of Jesus, a small Mary and Baby Jesus and two panels containing crosses which flank a Biblical scene of Jesus ascending into Heaven.
Six Biblical scenes include the center panel of the triple window above, Mary carrying Jesus’s body after the Crucifixion, Jesus washing Peter’s feet, Mary’s ascension into Heaven, Joseph and his son Jesus in the carpenter shop, and Jesus in the garden.
The seventh Biblical scene shows Jesus with the children. Appropriately, this window is located in the room reserved for parents with crying children.
In addition, two narrow panels flanking the front entrance of the church were decorated with diamond-like abstract art.
Helen and her husband August "Gus" Axtman have been retired from their auto supply business in Maddock for 10 years. She started painting in the 1970’s as a hobby. Her hobby has turned into something significantly more than a hobby. Many would call this beautiful gift to the church a masterpiece.
Helen Axtman of Maddock stands in front of a triple window imitation stained glass representation of Christ rising into Heaven, flanked by crosses. Mrs. Axtman and Debbie Dosch decorated all the windows with similar artwork at St. William’s Catholic Church in Maddock. This triple window piece of art was her first attempt in the five-month process.
This version of The Pieta, Mary grieving over the dead body of Jesus, is painted on one of the windows in the church.
There’s a lot of construction in the Minnewaukan area, but it’s starting to wind down. The state’s outlet to Devils Lake is now completed and all that remains is some landscaping and fencing. Last week this congregation of big machines was located a couple miles northwest of Minnewaukan where work on new US 281 is going full blast. Three large capacity ore trucks were hauling mud, which was scraped up by a Caterpillar and scooped into the ore trucks by a big Cat backhoe. The dirt was hauled west to dry out before it will presumably be replaced. The workers were possibly preparing to place a culvert at this location. Work is also continuing south of Minnewaukan on the new route of US 281. The new highway will be located half a mile west of Minnewaukan.
Church to observe 50th
St. William’s Catholic Church of Maddock will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Friday, Sept. 9 with a mass at 6 p.m. Supper will follow in the church basement. St William’s was dedicated on Sept. 9, 1955. His excellency, Archbishop William D. O’Brian, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and president of the Extension Society of America was present to dedicate the new church. Also present for the dedication was Bishop Leo F. Dworschak of the Diocese of Fargo. Bishop Samuel Aquila of the Fargo Diocese will be the 50th Anniversary mass celebrant.