A Connection: Past and Present

A Connection: Past and Present

A Connection: Past and Present

by | Oct 21, 2021

Franciscan Sisters of Mary – Many items were donated and repurposed in the new St. John Henry Newman Chapel from the Franciscan Sisters of Mary. (Photo by Timothy Vollink/The Mirror)

In 2010, St. Mary of the Angels Chapel and Convent—the mother house for the Franciscan Sisters of Mary for 80-years—were sold to SSM Healthcare System/St. Mary Hospital and the sisters moved to their new location in Bridgeton, MO. In 2011, the Kenrick-Glennon seminarians moved into the empty buildings while the seminary was going through a remodel. It was during this time that Most Rev. Edward M. Rice was an instructor at the seminary and very often celebrated Mass in the Chapel.

The divesting of artifacts from the St. Mary of the Angels Chapel began in 2018, and Bp. Rice, familiar with the artifacts, made plans to use them in the new St. John Henry Newman Center Chapel, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, MO.  

Sister Judith Bell, Mother Superior, Franciscan Sisters of Mary, who had lived and worshipped at the former St. Mary of the Angels Chapel and Convent, was present for the Mass of Dedication of the new St. John Henry Newman Chapel and described her experience:

“When I first walked in to the Chapel, I felt so many wonderful feelings and memories. To see the light coming through the stained-glass windows as it did in the old Chapel was just exquisite, the beauty of the statues and stations of the cross, even the lights. I was so grateful that so many of the items were repurposed in such a beautiful new Chapel. My immediate thought was, ‘this place is just beautiful, God be praised!’

Stained glass windows from St. Mary of the Angels Chapel in the new St. John Henry Newman Center Chapel, Southeast Missouri State University.

That evening, after the Dedication Mass and events, Sr. Bell’s reflections came back to the Coat of Arms for St. John Henry Newman, “cor ad cor loquitur,” (“hearts speak to hearts”). She found this to be so very true.

“The hearts of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary speak now to the hearts of the students and to all those involved in the new Newman Center in Cape Girardeau,” Sr. Bell said. She felt blessed to have been present for the dedication and consecration Mass, to have a personal connection to its history, and to see the beauty of the artifacts in their new home.