Looking towards the front of the church, the left nave runs along the side of the church next to the school. Beneath the four giant windows of the left nave are smaller windows, as well as stations of the cross 8 to 14.
This window depicts St. Dunstan, the archbishop of Canterbury, annointing Edward as King of England. Edward was the son of King Edgar the Peaceable of England. King Edgar had a dream before St. Edward’s birth, and told his mother, the abbess St. Elgiva. She possessed gifts of prophecy and wonder-working, and interpreted his dream: “After your death the Church of God will be attacked. You will have two sons. The supporters of the second will kill the first, and while the second will rule on earth the first will rule in heaven.”
King Edgar had been anointed twice on the model of King David: once in the year 960 or 961, and again in 973. Between these two annointings, he had married again and fathered a second son, Ethelred. When King Edgar died in 975, Ethelred’s partisans, especially his mother, argued that Ethelred should be made king on the grounds that Edgar had not yet been anointed when Edward was born in the year 959 or 960. Therefore, she argured, the throne should pass to the younger son.
The conflict was settled when St. Dunstan, the archbishop of Canterbury, seized the initiative and anointed St. Edward. The defeated party of Ethelred, however, did not give up their opposition to God’s chosen one.
St. Rita was born at Roccaporena near Spoleto, Umbria, Italy, and was married at age 12 to Paolo Mancini. Her parents arranged her marriage, despite the fact that she repeatedly begged them to allow her to enter a convent. Mancini was a rich, quick-tempered, immoral man, who made many enemies in the region. St. Rita endured his insults, abuse, and infidelities for 18 years. She bore two sons with Mancini, who grew to be like their father.
Mancini’s allies betrayed him, and he was violently stabbed to death. Before his death, however, he repented to St. Rita and the Church, and she forgave him for his transgressions against her. Her sons wanted revenge on their father’s murderers, but knowing murder was wrong, she tried to persuade them from retaliating. They still wanted to exact revenge. She prayed to God for Him to take away the lives of her sons instead of seeing them commit such a terrible sin. God heard St. Rita’s words and her sons died of natural causes a year later.
After the deaths of her husband and sons, St. Rita desired to enter the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene at Cascia but was spurned for being a widow, as virginity was a requirement for entry into the convent. However, she persisted in her cause and was given a condition before the convent could accept her; the difficult task of reconciling her family with her husband’s murderers. She was able to resolve the conflicts between the families at the age of 36, and was allowed to enter the monastery.
However, her actual entrance into the monastery has been described as a miracle. During the night, when the doors to the monastery were locked and the sisters were asleep, St. Rita was miraculously transported into the convent by her patron saints St. John the Baptist, St. Augustine, and St. Nicholas of Tolentino. When she was found inside the convent in the morning and the sisters learned of how she entered, they could not turn her away. She remained at the monastery, living by the Augustinian Rule, until her death in 1457.
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
St. Paul, called Saul before his conversion on the road to Damascus, was a Jew born in Tarsus. Saul belonged to the Pharisee sect and was a loyal Roman citizen who actively persecuted the early Christians in Jerusalem. His persecution of the followers of Jesus was not simply because he was following orders. Saul believed that these new Christians were attacking the foundations of his own faith. His convictions were so strong that he sought permission from the High Priest in Jerusalem to capture the Christians in Damascus and bring them to justice in Jerusalem. It was on his way to Damascus that Saul was knocked from his horse by a flash of light from heaven. A voice saying “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” marks his conversion.
Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9: 1-6