Casa Italia to unveil mystery window

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Attorney John J. Lag was enjoying the atmosphere at the Festa Pasta Vino at 24th & Oakley when he saw something that stopped him in his tracks.

“It was a remarkably beautiful stained-glass window with vibrant colors that caught my eye. It was an image of Bishop John Scalabrini and I just had to buy it,” Lag says. “It was being sold without provenance, without any information as to its origin or the artisan who created it, but I couldn’t pass it up.

“Clearly, I couldn’t keep it at the family home and then it dawned on me. This magnificent piece should be at the museum at Casa Italia so it’s beauty can be displayed in a deserving setting.”

The restoration of the window is being paid for by Dr. Paul P. Rubino, a retired general surgeon whose last practice was at St. Joseph Hospital in Joliet. “Dominic Candeloro reached out to me as he knew that my wife and I have supported the Casa in the past, as well as Fra Noi and the Italian American Studies Program at Loyola University.”  The good doctor’s generosity stems from his love of the Italian culture and his ‘can’t take it with you’ philosophy.

The mystery remains regarding where this stained-glass image of the founder of the Missionaries of Saint Charles and the Missionary Sisters of Saint Charles came from.  Was it from one of the parishes that the Scalabrini order established in Chicago to minister to the Italian immigrants? Did it once reside at the Scalabrini seminary on the very grounds of Casa Italia? Our research up to this point has not provided an answer.

The magnificence of the piece speaks for itself, and thanks to the generosity of John Lag and Dr. Rubino, the restored window will be unveiled at a ceremony at 7 p.m. on Sept. 24 at Casa Italia. Refreshments will be served. The window will then be placed in the Scalabrini Museum in the Italian Cultural Center.

Call 708-345 5933 ext. 2 to reserve a seat at the unveiling. And please let us know if you can solve the mystery of the original location of this wonderful piece of art.


About Terry Quilico

Firefighter, caseworker, labor organizer, sailor, psychiatric aide, aircraft load planner, FedEx manager. Nothing seemed to fit until Terry Quilico stepped up to the Joliet Herald copy desk as a know-it-all college intern wannabe journalist. It was there that he found his calling. Over the years, he’s written about social and political movements, Italian cars and the Torino football club. ]He began his long association with Fra Noi while working for the Comboni Missionaries. His proudest work was with the photographers, journalists and editors who created the magnificent book, “Evviva la Festa. A Spiritual Journey from Italy to Chicago.”

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