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Ecclesistical & Heritage World No.99

Window commemorates safe delivery of endangered child

Wayne ricketts pic 002Stained glass artist Wayne Ricketts describes a commission for a window to give thanks for a miracle

I was commissioned to design a stained glass window for the Roman Catholic Church of St Sebastian and St Pancras in North West London by Andrew Agbarakwe, a worshipper who wanted to donate it to the church to give thanks for the safe delivery of his child after a difficult pregnancy. The window was to depict Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi, a Nigerian priest and Trappist monk who was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

In the top section we have Christ and the Virgin Mary: Christ giving a blessing and the Virgin Mary praying for humanity. Behind them is the Sacred Heart. The golden rays of light descending represent the Grace of God.

In the lower section we have blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi, in Trappist monk vestments, in prayer. The spiralling lines are his prayers and intercessions ascending to Heaven. On each shoulder are symbols of his miracles, with Philomena touching his coffin on the left and a baby in the womb on the right, to represent the personal miracle of the donors. By his side, to the left, is Onitsha Cathedral and to the right Mount Saint Bernard Abbey.

In the bottom section we have – anti-clockwise from top left – Father Michael, flanked by nuns giving marriage instruction to young women, with a building behind them, to represent his building works; a pile of discarded symbols of paganism; Father Michael on his bicycle, travelling between villages in the parish; Fr Cyprian repairing books at Mount St Bernard Abbey; Fr Cyprian working in the garden.

Images to the left of Blessed Cyprian represent his life, works and miracle in Nigeria, while those to the right of him represent his life, works and miracle in England. Rays of light emanate from the Sacred Heart, to which Christ is pointing.

Below are some detailed close ups of the window.


• For further information on Wayne’s work visit the website at www.customstainedglass.co.uk, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07703 501019.

Miracles do happen

Andrew Agbarakwe’s journey started back in November 2015. His wife was expecting their third child. All was going as expected until that important three-month scan, which had shown a lower than expected volume of amniotic fluid. If the amniotic fluid failed to increase then there was a high risk that the child could be born with a condition referred to as ‘plastic lungs’ and would only survive for a few minutes after birth.

Andrew takes up the story: “We were devastated: it was a very difficult and trying time. It is at times such as these when one turns to their faith. We were asking God for a miracle.

“We called on the intercession of Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi, a Nigerian catholic priest who has had miracles attributed to him. I promised Blessed Tansi that if he did this for us – if he interceded and asked God to take care of our baby, I would do whatever I could to expedite the Canonisation process.

“As if by magic, week-on-week the fluid gradually began to increase. It increased to such an extent that well into the pregnancy we had a meeting with a consultant. He paused then asked: ‘What have we been doing: the amniotic fluid is at normal levels’. ‘Praying,’ we said. He then looked at the latest scan and said: ‘Its only God that can do this’. Our beautiful daughter was born shortly after.

“The concept of the stained glass window came to me during a Sunday mass. It is a beautifully crafted work of art, which in all its colours and splendour truly reflects the light which entered our lives when we were going through a dark and challenging time.”