Thames Windows

Thames Windows

Saint Francis of Assisi

St Francis, our patron, was born in Assisi, Italy, in 1182. He founded the Franciscan Order. Although many Franciscans these days are priests, Francis himself was not a priest. He died in 1226.

Birds are used as the symbol of St Francis, and in this case it is a highly coloured, stylized New Zealand kea.

The figure also shows other aspects of St Francis: the dove for the Instrument of Peace song which Francis composed, the sackcloth he wore (to show his poverty), the rope belt with knots (symbolizing his vows), the stigmata (the marks of Christ's wounds on his hands and feet)

His feast day is 4 October.

Saint Peter Chanel was born in Cuet, France, in 1803. He was ordained as a diocesan priest but later joined the Society of Mary. For a while he taught in a school before coming to the island of Futuna. There he was murdered with a club in 1841. His body was brought to Russell, New Zealand. It is now buried on Futuna.

The window shows the palm tree, which is a symbol for martyrdom as well as for Oceania. The blue cloak represents the Society of Mary. The little deer stands both as a symbol for his European background and also for his apparent failure as a missionary. Deer were thought to shed tears.

He is the patron of Oceania, and yes! he was related to the Chanel of perfume fame.

His feast day is 28 April.

Saint Peter Chanel

Saint Catherine of Siena

St Catherine was one of twenty children. She was born in 1347 - and despite the costume in the window, was a lay woman. Although she probably could not read or write, she dictated a number of works which have become spiritual classics. She was also involved in the politics of the day. She died in 1380. Pope Paul VI declared her a Doctor of the Church.

The lily represents chastity. She had a terrible time with sexual temptations.

She had an opinion about everything, and her friends had a hard time getting her to keep quiet.

Her feast day is 29 April.

St Theresa of the Child Jesus was born in Alencon, France, in 1873. She became a Carmelite nun at Lisieux and was the Novice Mistress. Offering the sacrifices of her life for the missions, she wrote letters to priests in Viet Nam. Her autobiography is called The Story of a Soul. She died in 1897, and Pope John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Church.

Roses around a crucifix is the traditional symbol used for her - possibly because she is known as The Little Flower. Her parents, Mr and Mrs Martin, are current candidates for sainthood.

She is one of the patrons of New Zealand. Her feast day is 1 October.

Saint Theresa of Lisieux

Saint Luke the Evangelist

St Luke was a doctor by profession, which explains why in his Gospel he is immensely interested in the diseases that Jesus cured.

In the window he holds a book, which represents the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles which he also wrote.

The ox with wings is taken from the Book of Revelation: "Grouped around the throne were four animals... the second like a bull... with wings..."

The ox is also a symbol of a cow chewing its cud - which represents the eclectic character of St Luke's Gospel.

He is buried at Padua. His feast day is 18 October.

The Coat of Arms of Pope Pius XII

Beneath the window of St Francis is the Coat of Arms of Pope Pius XII. The present church building was built during the papacy of this pope. The church was blessed on 4th May 1958, and Pope Pius died five months later.

The Coat of Arms of Bishop Mackey

Beneath the windows of Our Lady of the Snows is the Coat of Arms of Bishop John Mackey. Bishop Mackey was the Bishop of Auckland from 1974 until 1984. He had previously served as a curate in the Thames parish from 1945 until 1949.

The Coat of Arms of Bishop Pompallier

Beneath the window of St Luke is the Coat of Arms of Bishop Pompallier. He was the bishop who set up the Thames parish in 1865. Bishop Pompallier resigned from being bishop in 1869. He was succeeded by Bishop Croke who was able to get the Auckland Diocese out of massive debt with the help of the Thames goldfields!

The Coat of Arms of Bishop Liston

In the porch is a window of the Arms of Archbishop James Liston. He was made a bishop in Auckland in 1920, and resigned as Bishop of Auckland in 1969. He blessed the Thames church building in 1958. Strangely, this is not his diocesan Coat of Arms but his personal one.

St John was an Apostle and wrote a Gospel and a number of letters. By tradition he is the "Beloved Disciple".

In the window he holds the Gospel. The eagle signifies sublimity and the grace of the Holy Spirit. The eagle image is taken from the Book of Revelation

He is buried at Ephesus.

St John the Apostle has links with the New Zealand and Auckland Church - and for that matter, with the Thames Parish. St John was the disciple of Jesus. St Polycarp was the disciple of John. St Irenaeus was the disciple of Polycarp and a Bishop of Lyons. Bishop Pompallier came from the church of Lyons. So in a way we can claim that we are "descended" from St John.

His feast day is 27 December.

Saint John the Evangelist

Our Lady of the Snows

Our Lady of the Snows is the patron of Antarctica. There is a Chapel of Our Lady of the Snows at McMurdo Sound. This explains the Southern Cross in the window.

St Mary Major Basilica in Rome is dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows. Legend has it that Our Lady appeared in a dream in 358 to Pope Liberius, asking that a Church within Rome be built dedicated to her on the place where the snow would fall that night.

The feast day of Our Lady of the Snows is 5 August.

St Pius X was pope from 1903 until 1914. He was born in Riese, Italy, in 1835, of a very poor family. He was the second of ten children. He became the Patriarch of Venice before being elected pope.

He was noted for his simplicity. "I was born poor, I lived poor, I will die poor." He is perhaps best remembered for his encouragement of the frequent reception of Holy Communion.

Pius X smoked cigars!

His feast day is 21 August.

Saint Pius X

The Holy Family

Jesus, Joseph and Mary are shown in a domestic scene.

Sunday after Christmas

Creator God,
teach us the sanctity of human love,
show us the value of family life,
help us to live in peace with all.

The Holy Spirit hovers over Australasia.


Father of light,
send your Spirit into our lives
with the power of a mighty wind,
and by the flame of your wisdom
open the horizons of our minds.

Loosen our tongues to sing your praise
in words beyond the power of speech,
for without your Spirit
we can never raise our voice in words of peace
or announce the truth that Jesus is Lord.

The Holy Spirit

The Sermon on the Mount
This window is quite large, and shows many New Zealand symbols, including the Mount Cook Lily and various birds. We see the kingfisher, the wood pigeon, the fantail and various New Zealand parrots. It even has the flightless weka up a tree!


Happy are the poor in spirit:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy the gentle:
they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn:
they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:
they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful:
they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart:
they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers:
they shall be called children of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Detail from the Sermon on the Mount

: Take me back to Thames :