VOL 2, NO. 7, 1899 – STAINED GLASS WINDOW AT FURNESS HOUSE
On a Stained-Glass Window in Furness House
By the late Denis Murphy, S.J.
There is in the house of Miss Beauman, at Furness, a pretty piece of stained glass, to which I beg to call the attention of our members. It is a fanlight over the door at the back of the house. It represents the Blessed Virgin Mary holding in her hand a piece of brown cloth, which she is handing to some one kneeling at her feet. The inscription is : “ B : Francus Ord Carm :” The picture represents the Blessed Virgin giving the habit of the
Carmelites to St. Francus, a saint of that Order. A few words about his life may not be out of place here. They are taken from a History of the Order :-
“The blessed Francus (Lippi) was born at Grotti, near Siena, in 1211. His parents were poor peasants. He neglected his trade of tanner, and became a soldier. It is said that while playing one evening he staked his eyes, and was suddenly struck blind. This was the occasion of his conversion. After some time he recovered his sight. He then made a pilgrimage to Compostella, and to Loretto. and other shrines in Italy. After his return to Siena, he was exhorted by the Blessed Virgin to become a hermit. He lived many years in this state. The Blessed Virgin again appeared to him, showing him the Carmelite habit, and directed him to join that Order. He was received soon after in the Convent of Siena. This was about the year 1281. He lived a very holy life in the Order, and died December 17th, 1291. This day is kept as his feast. He was beatified, and his office approved by Pope Clement V, in 1308.”
Tl1ere is an old church in ruins close to the house. It is impossible to say what was the date of its erection. It must have been built after the coming of the Anglo-Normans, as we may see
from the pointed doorway and windows. In the list of churches given by the Most Rev. Dr. McGeoghegan in 1624, it is mentioned as belonging to the Deanery of Naas. See “ The Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin,” i. 259.
The stained glass mentioned above could not have belonged to the church, for there is no window large enough to hold it ; and the style of ornament on the glass is such as to show that it belongs to a date later than any at which the church was in use, being late seventeenth century work.