Saint Francis Chapel is situated at the crossroad of University traffic, a quiet center in the midst of a busy campus, a gathering place for our community of faith at worship, a refuge for the prayerful student in the late night hours or at any time of day. It is a symbol and expression of this University’s Jesuit Catholic heritage and its commitment to spiritual values.
Saint Francis Chapel, made possible by the generous donations of Mrs. F. J. O’Neill and the F. J. O’Neill Charitable Corporation, is the main student chapel at John Carroll University. The chapel serves as the site of our weekend masses, penance and prayer services, weddings, and personal prayer by individual members of the University community. Within the main chapel is the Eucharistic chapel, known as the “Lady Chapel,” the site of most of our weekday liturgies.
The location was set aside in 1923 for a 5,000 seat Gothic chapel designed by Cleveland architect Bloodgood Tuttle. These plans proved to be too magnificent to ever leave the drawing board. In 1929 foundations were dug for a 1,000 seat Memorial Chapel, which the Depression kept from completion.
In 1947, a wooden frame building was erected on the abandoned foundation and used for 10 years, first as a gymnasium and later as the offices of the School of Business. It was painted to resemble the brick of the rest of the campus, but the color was never true and it soon became known affectionately as “the Pink Barn.” In 1970 the building was renovated, faced with brick, and became the Fritzsche Religious Center. It included a small chapel and a multipurpose room where Sunday masses were celebrated. Finally, the entire building was renovated by architect Peter van Dijk and dedicated by Bishop Anthony M. Pilla on December 10, 1987.
Partitions were removed to open up the generous space and reveal the original wooden trusses of the roof structure. Skylights and a narrow clerestory were cut to admit more natural light. A new facade of Indiana limestone, in a basket weave pattern, provided a setting for the Saint Cecilia rose window. The patroness of organists is surrounded by angelic musicians. The window, made in Munich in 1906 by Georg Boos Studios, was salvaged from Saint Martin’s Slovak Church in downtown Cleveland and donated to our chapel by Mr. and Mrs. William H. Gardiner, a most generous and deeply appreciated patron. Modern abstract windows, designed by Charles Lawrence and crafted locally by the Poremba Studio, admit light softly to the body of the chapel. Cold Spring green granite, piercing the facade and side wall, delineates an intimate Eucharistic chapel, within, but on a different axis from the larger room. The green slate floor of this Lady Chapel is from Vermont and further sets this area apart from the main chapel which is roughly floored in black Pennsylvania slate.
The alcove of the Lady Chapel enshrines an enamel and copper icon of the Virgin and Child, by Mary Ellen McDermott of the Cleveland Institute of Art, its design based loosely on the seal of Archbishop John Carroll. The tabernacle and candles are the work of the late silversmith Solve Hallquist. Local artist Pamela Argentieri crafted the silver evangelary cover and electroformed copper holy water basins, one of which bears the ancient palindrome NIYON ANOMHMATA MH MONAN OYIN [“Wash your sins, not just your face”]. Both basins are developing a characteristic green patina that matches the copper patina of the main candlesticks, the large outside cross, as well as the dappled green of the chapel walls and woven green of the chair fabric. The sanctuary is a curving platform of natural teak wood, the altars are blocks of the same material. All the woodwork, including the massive and intricate frame of the rose window is the award-winning work of Leo Leiden.
Figurative art has been minimized to maintain the simplicity of the room. The stations of the cross are done in porcelain with a raku glaze by Suzanne Marie Young. The colors were chosen to harmonize with the stained glass. She also added a 15th station of the risen Christ and an icon of Saint Francis Xavier, both of the same material.
A white reredos serves as a backdrop to the liturgy. In front of it, the main crucifix, a bronze by Megan Dull, provides a central but not demanding focus. As the liturgical year goes by, large batik banners featuring the four evangelists from the Book of Kells, change places on the reredos. They are the work of Bernadette Madden of Dublin, Ireland. The Mellen Organ, the work of Patrick Collon, stands in the northern corner of the room, one of four Spanish-style organs in the United States.
Among our many patrons we acknowledge and are thankful for the following:
- The Chapel of Saint Francis was built with a $1 million gift from Mrs. F. J. O’Neill and the F. J. O’Neill Charitable Corporation to honor the memory of Francis J. (Steve) O’Neill.
- Rose Window – Mr. and Mrs. William H. Gardiner
- Stained glass window – The Estate of Jack M. Nelan
- Stained glass window – Dr. and Mrs. Vincent Opaskar – In memory of Charles J. Centa, M.D.
- Stained glass window – Michael V. Kowalski ’67 – In memory of Judith Marie Mullen Kowalski.
- Stained glass window – James F. Woodward Jr. ’64 – Dedicated to the Woodward Family
- Stained glass window – Bob and Dolores Hope – In Memory of William Henry and Avis Hope
- Stained glass window – Mrs. Alice Powers – In memory of John K. Powers.
- Stained glass window – Mr. and Mrs. John D. Schubert
- Stained glass window – Lawrence P. Kelley ’35 and Rt. Rev. Msgr. Norman P. Kelley ’32 – In loving memory of their parents, Thomas J. and Olive R. Kelley.
- Stained glass window – Mr. and Mrs. Halim Habib – In honor of the Normal Joseph Family and in memory of Bedie N. Joseph.
- Holy Water Font – Jack Mathews – Dedicated to the poor of the world and given in memory of John and Marie Mathews and family by their son John ’50.
- Holy Water Font– Thomas F. Patton – In memory of Arline Patton
- Stations of the Cross – Marilyn R. Kuczynski – In memory of her father, Henry T. Kuczynski
- Icon of Mary – Mrs. Nancy O’Neill
- Ambo – James R. and Michael F. Marguerite – In Memory of their father, M.L. (Bud) Marguerite.
- Four Batik Banners – Given in the name of Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Bartholomew J. Merella ’57 and family
- Organ – The Mellen Foundation – In memory of Louise E. Mellen
- Main Altar – Class of 1955
- Altar in the Lady Chapel – Dr. and Mrs. J. Peter Fegan ’59 – In memory of Joseph P. Fegan
- Altar of Repose in the Lady Chapel – Mrs. J. Harrington Glidden – In memory of her husband.
- Main Processional Cross – O’Toole Charitable Trust
- Processional Crucifix in the Lady Chapel – Mr. and Mrs. Austin O’Malley
- Wall Cross – Ronald and Susan Petnuch ’82
- Tabernacle – Marilyn R. Kuczynski – In memory of her grandparents, Walter and Mary Bukala
- Sacristy – The Sutphin Family – In memory of Albert and Mary Sutphi
The Peace Chapel is located in Rodman Hall, which houses the Enrollment, University Advancement, Human Resources, and Information Technology Services departments. Rodman Hall was formerly the residence of the Jesuit community of John Carroll and the chapel was used by the community during this time. Built in 1938, the building is named after Rev. Benedict Rodman, S.J.
Rev. Rodman was president of John Carroll University from 1928-1937, and was highly instrumental in the development of the new University campus. The chapel was dedicated in January 1940. The stained glass windows and furnishing were provided through the generosity of the John Carroll Guild of 1954.
In 2000, Rodman Hall was renovated and the Jesuit community moved to a separate location across the street known as Schell House. In 2007, under Rev. Robert Niehoff, S.J., President of John Carroll University, Rodman Chapel was updated, including the installation of new kneelers and a complete restoration of the stained glass windows.
The Peace Chapel of Rodman Hall is used for daily Mass on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the fall and spring semesters and for other Eucharistic celebrations throughout the year.
Four of our residence halls have set aside dedicated spaces for prayer and reflection: Murphy, Pacelli, Dolan, and Sutowski Halls.
Murphy Hall Chapel is a consecrated Eucharistic Chapel and there is a Eucharistic liturgy at 9:30 p.m. every Wednesday when students are on campus.
There are three other reflection rooms in the residences of Pacelli Hall, Dolan Hall, and Sutowski Hall. Through a generous grant, the spaces in these halls have been updated to provide a quiet and reflective area for students to use for prayer. The Sutowski chapel (located in Sutowski residence hall) was originally donated in memory of Gene and Stella Zannoni (1979).
In addition to their use for private reflection, Carroll Faith Communities (CFCs) and groups from other faith traditions on campus use these rooms when they gather to meet or pray.
At John Carroll University there is a labyrinth on the terrace of Rodman Hall, on the quadrangle side of the building. It is 42 feet in diameter, a replica of the eleven circuit labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, and is a paved surface set with bluish-gray and brick colored cobblestones. The path from the start to the center is about 850 feet. This eleven-circuit labyrinth is the form most replicated today. We have set its circular design within an octagon and a square, which enhances the labyrinth’s mandala-like quality, as well as its universal significance to people of all faith traditions.
Two additional symbols have been incorporated in polished granite as representative of the Jesuit heritage of John Carroll. In the center of this ancient symbol we have placed the image from the seal of Saint Ignatius, founder of the Jesuit Order: “IHS,” the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus, bearing a cross and enthroned above the moon and stars. For, while we invite people of all faiths and none to walk this path for their own purposes and in their own way, we honor the Jesuit perspective which emphasizes that Jesus is the beginning, center, and final end of all creation. He is immersed into its deepest sorrows and exalted above its highest glories. He stands at the heart of every human life. Around the perimeter of the labyrinth are the four letters “AMDG,” the motto of the Jesuits and those who share their spirituality: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, For the Greater Glory of God. In Ignatian spirituality, this is the purpose of our earthly existence and pilgrimage.
Labyrinths are at least 4,000 years old. A classic, simple, seven-circuit labyrinth appears as a design on cave walls and ceramic vases. It is seen in numerous cultures and religions, and became a form of prayer that Christian churches adopted because of its spiritual value.
In the floor of Notre Dame Cathedral at Chartres there is an eleven-circuit labyrinth dating from the early 1200’s. It is the same size as the great rose window and as far from the sill of the main door as the window is above it. Thus if that sill were a vast hinge, the window swinging down would superimpose itself upon the labyrinth, a wonder of light upon a mystery of darkness.
The eleven-circuit form became more popular than the older form, in part because its division into four quadrants manifested more the symbol of the cross. Its four arms are readily visible and provide significant Christian symbolism. It is also shaped more like a mandala, which is a circular symbol of the cosmos taken from the Sanskrit and used in many eastern religious traditions. Its more intricate paths are a metaphor for the journey of life and of the spiritual journey inward, toward the heart.
At one time, the labyrinth served as a substitute for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It came to be called the “Chemin de Jerusalem” or Road of Jerusalem, the center of the world. It was a quest – a journey filled with the hope of becoming closer to God.
In walking the Chartres-style labyrinth, the walker meanders through each of the four quadrants several times before reaching the goal. At the center is a rosette design which has a rich symbolic value including that of enlightenment.
In our time, the labyrinth is being rediscovered as a spiritual tool with a wide variety of interpretations. It is still a metaphor for an individual spiritual journey. Churches, schools, retreat houses, hospitals, and other institutions across the country are establishing permanent labyrinths. Portable versions are also available. Retreats, lectures, books, and numerous websites are investigating the uses of the labyrinth in the psychological and spiritual life.
How to Walk the Labyrinth
There are as many ways to walk the labyrinth as there are people. Walk at your own pace, and in the spirit of the moment. You will find you may walk it in different ways at different times.
It could be for fun, for peace, or for healing. You might want to relax from stress, or take to the center a question for discernment or a quest for guidance. You might use it for meditative walking or centering prayer. It may be used for reflection or a search for the depths of your own spirit. You may want to repeat a prayer — a word or phrase with special spiritual meaning for you. If nothing else you may wish to search for the one red cobblestone that the paver, following tradition, has set upside down (with the rounded side down and the straight side up).
Take time beforehand to collect yourself, or to form an intention or a question. Walk at your own pace within the lines, moving aside only to pass a person moving slower than yourself or coming in the opposite direction. When you reach the center pause there awhile before starting out again.
Read some of the abundant literature, or consult any of the hundreds of labyrinth websites to see the great variety of ways in which labyrinths are interpreted and used. Whether your understanding is derived from the Christian tradition or not, may you be blessed abundantly as you walk its path.
The Beaudry Shrine is located between Bernet Hall and the Boler School of Business. The Shrine was dedicated on October 28, 1951, in memory of Bob Beaudry, Class of 1950.
In his senior year at John Carroll, Bob Beaudry was president of Alpha Sigma Nu and the Boosters’ Club. He was a member of the Sodality, now known as Carroll Faith Communities (CFCs), for each of his four years at John Carroll. He was a dynamic student leader who was included in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities for two years.
After graduation Bob continued his studies at Georgetown University Law School. In the spring of 1951, on his way home to Chicago for a visit, he was killed in an airplane crash near Pittsburgh.
Since Bob Beaudry’s name and memory represented that intangible quality — school spirit — it was decided to build a memorial. The shrine to Our Lady, Mother of Grace, was made possible by contributions from Bob’s family and friends. In 1951, the Sodality initiated the Robert Beaudry Award, in honor of their deceased member. This award is given to a graduating senior who exemplifies a commitment to leadership and faith.
James Davis Garden
This is a peaceful sanctuary tucked in near the Garden Level entry to the Administration Building. The Dawn Redwood and Scotch Pine provide the canopy for magnolia, dogwood, American Holly and a variety of shade loving ground covers and plants including the state wildflower, Trillium.
Hidden Meditation Garden
This is a truly hidden retreat tucked between the brick structures of the O’Malley Center and B Wing. The small courtyard offers an outdoor private respite in the middle of our campus.
Interfaith Prayer Room
This room on the third floor of the library is open to any student seeking a space for reflection and is often used by Muslim students for their daily prayers.
Click here for a map to all the reflection spaces accessible to the public.