St. Ludmila Window – St. Wenceslaus Church, Wilber, NE

Stained-glass windows decorate the entrance doors of the church; and one immediately becomes aware of the Czech-heritage of the church with the windows of the patron St. Wenceslaus and his grandmother St. Ludmila.

The saints shown in the windows on the door are represented in unique line-drawings inside rectangular frames of red and blue. The windows were designed and installed in the 1980’s by a parishioner who owned Wilber Windows. Over the doors is a window filling a pointed-arch with a blue cross, again within a border of red and blue. The colors of red, blue and white in horizontal stripes are considered “Pan-Slavic colors” which were defined by the Prague Slavic Congress in 1848 based on the flag of Russia. The current countries sporting the tri-colors on their flags include the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Russia.

St. Ludmila is pictured in a haloed, humble posture with closed eyes. Ludmila was born around 860 and married at an early age to Borivoj I, Duke of Bohemia. They converted to Christianity in 874 probably through the work of Saints Cyril and Methodius. Their attempts to convert their peoples to Christianity was not well-received and they were driven out, although returned later to have their sons Spythihnev, then his brother Wrastislaw (Vratislas I) assume leadership as the Duke of Bohemia. The grandmotherly saint is credited with imparting Christian teachings to young Wenceslaus who lived with her after his father, the Duke Wrastislaw (Vratislas I) died. St. Ludmila was killed at the direction of Wenceslaus mother, Dragomir due to her jealousy at the closeness of her son Wenceslaus with her mother-in-law Ludmila. Legend has it that Ludmila was strangled with her own veil in her castle at Tetin. She was canonized shortly after her death on September 15th, 921. St. Ludmila is venerated as a patroness of Bohemia; and is considered to be a patron of converts, the Czech Republic, duchesses, problems with in-laws, and widows. Her feast day is celebrated on September 16th.

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British Library, European Studies Blog –

Catholic Encyclopedia –, St. Ludmila –

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