The deacon who preaches in glass

Meet stained glass artist, Deacon Bob Markert in the Louisville Courier-Journal: 

The pounding of a mallet and the ratcheting of a ladder echoed through the front atrium of Brescia Hall on the Ursuline Campus on a crisp November morning.

Bob Markert and Peter Eichhorn were busy installing stained-glass windows designed decades ago by Markert, filled with symbols associated with the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville.

Sister Ruth Ann Haunz, an Ursuline Leadership Council member eagerly watching the proceedings, pointed out that one of the windows was going in backward.

“Mea culpa,” Markert said with a smile, gentling smiting his breast with his fist.

Soon enough, the project was done.

“They’re finally back home,” Markert said. “Good job, Peter.”

“They’re still good, Bob,” replied Eichhorn, who has worked with Markert on art-glass projects for nearly half a century.

This was no simple matter of interior decorating. The windows, installed in a new spot after their original chapel location was dismantled, have a heritage stretching back decades.

And so does the artist behind them.

Untold thousands of worshippers have prayed beneath Markert’s stained-glass creations in houses of worship of all types in the Louisville area — Catholic, Baptist, Orthodox Christian, Jewish, Mormon, Episcopal and others — as well as in hospital chapels and lobbies and other settings.

“I call them my children of the heart, my window children,” said Markert, 71.

The Roman Catholic deacon’s art is closely woven with his ministry. Markert also serves as a chaplain for Catholic Cemeteries — regularly conducting services for parents experiencing an agony he and his wife, Patsy, know all too well, the burial of an infant child.

The soft-spoken, bearded and balding Markert said such ministry has an even deeper meaning than his art. “I consider the gifts I have been given to allow me to be compassionate are bigger than the gifts that allow me to draw or paint or create art,” he said.

“I need them both, but if I were to lose my hands, I wouldn’t lose the other,” he said of his vocation as a deacon.

Read more.  There’s also an excellent slideshow at the link.  And: check out the video below.