Milwaukee, Wisconsin: The Joan of Arc Chapel at Marquette University
History of the Joan of Arc Chapel:
A unique place of worship here in Milwaukee, this chapel (formerly called Chapelle de St. Martin de Sayssuel) was actually imported, stone-by-stone, from the Village of Chasse in France, a few miles south of Lyon. It’s original construction dates from around 1420. After the French revolution, it gradually fell into disrepair and was no longer used. In the 1920’s an architect and historian, Jacque Couelle, came upon the chapel. He was so impressed with it that he made drawings of it, measured it, photographed it and even numbered its stones.
Gertrude Hill Gavin was a wealthy American Catholic, active in many Catholic charities. She had a great devotion to Saint Joan of Arc. In 1926 Gertrude purchased the chapel, and had it moved from the village of Chasse to her estate in Jericho, New York, where they had an Chateau that had also been imported from France.
After Gertrude’s death the chateau burned down, but the chapel was saved, and given to Marquette University, where it was once again reconstructed and dedicated to Saint Joan of Arc.
It should be noted that not long after this, France enacted a law banning the export of such architectural treasures.
About the Joan of Arc Chapel:
The connection of the Chapel to Saint Joan of Arc is not fully known. Photographs of signs posted at the previous site of the chapel indicate St. Joan may have prayed in there after meeting with King Charles VII on March 9, 1429.
Tradition says that St. Joan prayed before a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that was standing on this stone. After finishing her prayer, St. Joan knelt down and kissed the stone. That stone lies in the chapel under a Gothic altar.
There are regularly scheduled Masses when classes are in session, and also tours available. Masses are not held in the summer when class is not in session. We suggest you call ahead. There are no weddings or baptisms held in the chapel.
Traveling to the Joan of Arc Chapel in Milwaukee:
The Chapel is located on the campus of Marquette University.
Address: Marquette University, 1250 W. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53233
Tel: +1 (414) 288-6873 (to schedule tours)
Click here for the official website of the Joan of Arc Chapel at Marquette University.
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