"Stained Glass Miracle at Good Shepherd Lodge"
by Eunice Hansen
One of the stories Allan loves to share with our guests is the story of the beautiful stained glass window in Good Shepherd Lodge. That building actually gets its name from the window depicting Jesus, our Good Shepherd, holding a lamb in His arms.
Allan, who is always looking for a good bargain, heard about an auction to be held at the Benedictine Center in our neighboring town of Mt. Angel. He went to the auction to see what kind of bargains he might find.
Having always appreciated the beauty of stained glass windows he was delighted to find one for sale. At St. Paul’s in Lynwood when we built the main sanctuary we had been able to put in 13 beautiful windows—one for each of the apostles and the 13th one was of Christ praying in Gethsemane The members of the church had given generously to be able to get these windows and everyone enjoyed them.
Now when Allan saw a stained glass window of the Good Shepherd he could hardly wait to bid on it. The bidding began and was not going very fast. Evidently not too many of those present were able to make use of such a large window. When the bidding stopped with Allan’s bid of $300 the auctioneer stopped and said, "Just a minute. I have to check with the sisters to see if they are willing to sell it for only $300." When he returned he said, “The window goes to the gentleman who bid $300!”
Next the auctioneer brought out the pieces of another window Good Shepherd Lodge in full bloom that had been the same size and style but had fallen apart when being moved. These windows, he explained, had been in storage for over 40 years. Since they hadn’t found any use for them in all that time, the Sisters felt it was time to get them moved.
Now the auctioneer asked, "Who would like to start the bidding on these beautiful pieces of stained glass?" Someone bid $15. Then Allan, who was feeling guilty for having gotten the Shepherd window for only $300, bid $50. The auctioneer said, "That’s the kind of bidding I like! Sold for $50!"
The Good Shepherd window was in need of repairs. Allan figured that among the broken pieces there would be some matching pieces with which to make the repairs.
The new lodge which was being built at this time was the ideal place for a window of this size. The window which was ten feet tall would fit perfectly in the stairway wall between the first and second story.
Lynn Christensen, an expert in stained glass work was contacted to repair the window, replacing the broken area and regrouting other parts to make it strong and solid. Since it was for the Center she offered to do the work for only $100. However, when she asked what we were going to do with all the extra glass and heard that we had no use for it, she said she’d do the repairs in exchange for the left over pieces.
Lynn, as a teacher of stained glass, had made a study of the history of stained glass. She told us that this particular style of work had either been done in Europe or else an artist from Europe had been brought over to this country to do it. The window had originally been in a Catholic Church many years before. We were never able to find out its exact age, but it was surely over 100 years old.
After the window was repaired she asked Allan if he knew how much the window was worth. He was dumb founded when she said, "Your window is worth between $8,000 and $10,000!"
One day a few years later some young campers were having a pillow fight in the Good Shepherd Lodge. One girl got smacked in the face with a pillow. To retaliate she took off her tennis shoe and threw it at the boy who had hit her. He ducked and the shoe went flying on through the air, hitting the window, knocking a piece out.
News of what had happened soon reached Allan. When he saw the hole, which was about 10 inches in diameter, he was sick. Picking up the broken pieces he knew they could never be glued together. This unusual type of glass would be impossible to duplicate.
Richard Lang, a pastor friend, who was present invited the young people to come together with him to pray about the window. Naturally the youth were devastated to see what their rough-housing had done and they were quite willing to pray if that would help.
Allan, though a strong believer in prayer, could not see how prayer could mend a broken window. He says, "They prayed, and I pouted!"
But God, our gracious heavenly Father, answered their prayers! Interestingly enough, just a short time before this, had been cleaning out the trailer where Allan’s mother had kept her stained glass supplies. (She had been taking lessons in stained glass from Lynn.) The next morning I suddenly remembered that among the pieces of ordinary stained glass I had seen a few pieces of the glass that had been used in repairing the Good Shepherd window.
"Allan, why don't you check out the trailer to see if perhaps there is something there that might work?" I asked. Very doubtful that there could be anything suitable he went to look. There it was! The exact piece he needed, matching perfectly the surrounding design. How did it happen that Lynn had not taken every piece with her? Had God who knows the future caused her to overlook this piece?
After breakfast Allan invited the young people to come over to the Lodge. It was Saturday morning—camp was over and they were all getting ready to go home. Was he going to scold them and make them feel even worse? When they were all seated on the steps, staring at the gaping hole he said, "I want to show you something." He brought out from behind his back the piece that he had found—the piece that perfectly matched and would fit in the hole. "Wow! Where did that come from?" they all exclaimed.
And so it was that their prayers had been answered. In stead of going home under a cloud, they could feel the warmth of God’s love and concern even for repairing a broken window. It was a reminder to all of us that God’s love is not only available to answer prayers for a broken window but how much more His love is available to heal and restore the brokenness in the lives of His children.
Shortly after the window was repaired we took the precaution we should have taken earlier and
covered the window both on the inside and outside with clear plastic.
(This is an excerpt from Eunice Hansen's book, When God Gives a Dream, pp. 99-103)