Construction of the project is on schedule and should be finished June 2018
Photos courtesy of Greg Rust | The Our Lady of Peace Chapel was transported from the Williams family property shortly after students left for winter break. The chapel was moved by truck (top) and placed on the end of the Academic Mall (below).
The historic Our Lady of Peace Chapel, donated by the Williams family, made Xavier its new home on Dec. 17.
The chapel, relocated from the family’s property in Anderson Township to the end of the Academic Mall, will mark the third campus building funded by the Williams family in addition to the Williams College of Business and Bellarmine Chapel.
The chapel was built on the family farm in Anderson between 1939 and 1940, and its name, “Our Lady of Peace,” was inspired by World War II. The chapel was used lovingly by the Williams family until recent years.
The sacred space was used as a place of gathering for masses as well as for baptisms and weddings for family members. Each Sunday, a priest was sent out so that the Williams family and the members of the community could celebrate Mass in the 22-seat stone chapel.
A stained glass window that bore the image of the patron saint of each child in the family at the time was built into the chapel, and an additional stained glass window is now being added opposite the original window.
The new window will bear the images of the St. Francis Xavier and St. Ignatius, and the Jesuit co-founders will be joined by emblems of Our Lady Montserrat and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
These additions will commemorate St. Ignatius’s annual pilgrimage to the mountain of Montserrat and the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe as the patroness of the Americas.
The stained glass will maintain the style of the original window and is being manufactured by BeauVerre Riordan Studios, a local stained glass studio in Middletown, Ohio.
Thomas Williams, the family member who initially approached Father Michael Graham, president, in 2015 about donating the chapel, said that the preservation of the chapel means a lot to the family.
“It’s tremendous,” Williams said. “It’s a very big deal.”
The chapel is filled with memories and with events chronicled in the parish records in calligraphy.
The wooden furniture was hand carved by a Williams relative. Members of the Williams family have continued to be married and baptized in the chapel up to the present.
Part of the reason that the family decided to donate the chapel to Xavier, aside from their ties to the university, was so that the student body would be able to continue to use the building in the future, whether for meditation and reflection, special Masses or for baptisms or weddings.
The chapel’s construction is on schedule and projected to be finished in June 2018.
By: Heather Gast ~Staff Writer~