Julee and Charlie joined St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in 1989. Sitting in the pew with Charlie, her eyes soon wandered over the sanctuary and she pondered what she could do to bring color and light to her home church. Her first chance came in 1992 when St. Mark’s commissioned her to create a stained glass processional cross for the Easter services that upcoming spring. Julee’s breast cancer diagnosis in September 1992 would become a great challenge for her personally and artistically.
Julee’s treatment required six months of chemotherapy with a scheduled date of conclusion in July 1993. During the chemo treatments, Julee had to put many of her projects on hold. Her commission to create the stained glass processional cross to be used for Easter services in the spring of 1993 at St. Mark’s seemed an impossible task in her weakened state. With her strength and energy depleted from the ravages of the chemotherapy, Julee lost hope of completing the commission in time for the Easter celebration. And then a turn of events gave Julee the opportunity she needed. She came down with an eye infection, so her treatments were cancelled for a few weeks. During the hiatus from the chemo she regained some of her energy and enthusiasm.
Her idea for the cross came from her brother-in-law, who suggested that she try to create a cross with the Christ figure merged directly into the glass. In talking about this very special journey, Julee shared, “I was so very drained and so exhausted. But after that short time away from treatment, my energy came back, and the cross came out.” Easter carried a very special meaning for her that year, and she celebrated the Easter message of renewed joy and hope. “The theme of the Resurrection means a lot to me this year,” she said in an interview. Nan Hanway said, “I will always remember the Easter Vigil of 1993. St. Mark’s nave was dark, and the processional cross Julee created was carried down the aisle. Although it was up to the viewer’s interpretation, for me I saw more than a crucifix—I saw Christus Rex—Christ the King reigning from the cross.” (See the Virtual Tour for more information about this processional cross.)