In 1954, when the windows were designed for Sacred Heart Chapel, there were twenty-six Jesuits who were publicly recognized as saints, beginning with St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier. Each of the saints is depicted in one of the windows, together with accompanying symbols that religious artists identify as proper to each saint as a martyr, preacher, missionary or an example of other outstanding dedicated service. In addition, three other images are used, those of Christ the King, Mary the mother of Jesus and Saint Joseph.
The tall, narrow stained glass windows in Sacred Heart Chapel are the only known collection that commemorates the twenty-seven Jesuit colleges and universities that were in existence in the United States when the Chapel was built. Each of the windows contains a seal or coat of arms of one of the Jesuit institutions of higher education. In addition, two seals represent world- wide institutions: the Catholic Church and the Society of Jesus.
The windows were constructed in keeping with the principles used in the 12th century when some of the finest stained glass was made. The images are two- dimensional, since the windows are considered part of the wall; the predominant color is blue, because more shades of blue are possible with stained glass than with any other color. The figures and motifs are formalized, following Roman and Byzantine practices.
With the exception of the five windows that are located in the curved end of the chapel, the colleges and universities are placed in numerical order according to their year of foundation, and the saints' images are placed in the order of each one's date of canonization.
David Zaitz Photography obtained the very high-resolution digital images of the windows from the floor level, using a laser beam to center each picture. The Canon 5D Mark III camera was connected to a sophisticated computerized imaging system that made possible the removal of parallax, so that viewers have the experience of being at eye-level with the windows rather than looking up at them from 19' below.