Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sacred Heart Chapel: Timeless Beauty

S. Moira Wild, Director of the Haehn Museum
Our sisters in the early years of the 20th century had a unique challenge and opportunity:  how to build a chapel for our monastery that would be beautiful and serviceable into the future.  How they did that is the story of the exhibit, Sacred Heart Chapel, God’s Home Among Us, 1914-2014, presently open in Haehn Museum.

Actually there are two distinct parts of the Chapel’s history—1914-1980; 1980 to the present. Both are related to liturgical practices of the time. Both are told through artifacts and photos. For instance, one example from the earlier years is the expansive elevated sanctuary floor and decorative altar; from the later years, the placement of the altar under the dome with pews for the assembly around it.  A few of the artifacts to see in the exhibit are the choir stall of the prioress, the capital of a pillar, samples of various marble, a number of the many angels in the original Chapel; and photos of the assembly in worship and gatherings in the renovated and new sacred spaces.

The visitor also learns of the decision in the 1910s to use only authentic materials—“If it says it is stone, it is stone” Community Chronicles.  One cannot but be touched by the lasting beauty that endures. The majesty of the dome, the grandeur of the marble and granite columns, the grace of the enveloping arches—all remain a significant part of the present Chapel, as do some 200 angel cherub heads on the capitals.  It is comforting to know that these cherubs, all with mouths open in song, have been with us for 100 years, and will continue to be silent partners in worship into the future.

Haehn Museum is located in the Art and Heritage Place at our monastery.  The exhibit will be open until December 23, 2014.

Dolores Super, OSB  

Official opening of the exhibit - April 27 at 2 pm
Visitors welcome to preview the exhibit now 

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