The Pioneer Women Window
On Easter Sunday morning the 15th of April, 1954, the Pioneer Women of First Presbyterian Church were honoured by the dedication of a pair of stained glass windows, a gift of First Presbyterian Church’s Women’s Federation. These windows were dedicated to the Glory of God and in grateful thanks by Mrs. Laura J. D. Fasken and the Very Reverend Norman D. Kennedy.
The theme of the window is the resurrection and Christ appearing to Mary.
The window was designed and created by the Robert McCausland Company of Toronto, Ontario to structural framework designs provided by the church’s architect, Mr. F. H. Portnall.
The Left Window portrays the parable of the Samaritan Woman at the Well. It speaks to Jesus’s acceptance by all people, not just the elite of the time, but also by outcasts, sinners and common people.
The Right Window portrays the figure of the risen Christ as He appeared to Mary and her friends.
A biblical quote on the banner in the lower portion of each window is from the Psalms 19 v 17 “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it”. Modern translations of this somewhat confusing speech simply state it to be “May all the delightful things be ours, O Lord our God; establish firmly all that we do.”
The History of the Origin and Acquisition of the Pioneer Women Window
In April of 1953 First Presbyterian Church’s Women’s Guild considered placing a memorial window in the church and contacted Robert McCausland of Toronto for a catalogue of window depictions, or some design suggestions, and a list of prices.
t the September 1953 meeting Mrs. Clara Thom, Secretary of the Women’s Guild (now called the Women’s Federation), placed an order with the Robert McCausland company for the purchase and installation of the Pioneer Women’s Window.
Specific instructions were given about the window as follows: The windows to have rich, but subdued colourings to contract with the vivid reds and blues of the windows on either side of the location of the Pioneer Women’s Window.
The Women’s Guild decided on the resurrection as the theme of the window, with the depiction being the part of the resurrection story where Jesus appears to female disciples, Mary and her friends.
The Women’s Guild was very careful about their choice of bible passage and reference for this window as they wished to have something appropriate to illustrate how long and hard our church women had laboured to establish our church on this site, as well as the onerous work to establish former church buildings. Many of the Pioneer Women being recognized by the placement of the window were very early settlers to western Canada, Saskatchewan and Regina. These women were truly pioneers of home and family as well as church, and knew first hand the hardship, toil and heartbreak that was the lot of women during that time.
The McCausland Company provided a set of depictions from which to choose and the Women’s Guild members chose the window design as it appears today.
The actual acquisition of the window has an interesting story: it was paid for by War Stamps. During World War 2 the Government of Canada issued War Stamps. These stamps had a value of 25 cents each and were attached to a folder holding 16 stamps ($4). These stamp folders could be cashed in at the end of the War for $5. The Women’s Guild members diligently saved their “War Stamps” and donated them for this purpose, in all collecting the $1,900 worth that were needed to purchase, transport and install the window.