15th Century Joan of Arc Chapel
Last night I was talking to my friend about the light house (blipped yest.)& she asked if I'd ever been to see the Joan of Arc Chapel, since I like old buildings...I'd never heard of it, so I looked it up online, & this morning I went & photographed it...it is, I think, another wonderful story of how it came to be here in Milwaukee.
This chapel was originally named "Chapelle de St. Martin de Sayssuel" & was once the heart of the French Village of Chasse, near Lyon, in the Rhone River Valley. It was built in the early 15th. century. After the French Revolution the chapel was abandoned & started to deteriorate. It was discovered by Jacques Covelle (a French archeologist & architect) in the early 1920's, & he brought it to the attention of Gertrude Hill Gavin, daughter of one of America's wealthy RailRoad Magnates. Gertrude purchased the chapel, had it disassembled , & brought it stone by stone (including the tomb of a french Knight that was part of the chapel floor) to her estate on Long Island in New York, where it was carefully reassembled. In 1962 her entire estate was purchased by a wealthy couple, who donated many of the items in the estate to various museums....and donated this chapel to Marquette University, which is located in downtown Milwaukee. The chapel was again disassembled, & a fleet of trucks, each carrying 40,000 pounds of stones, brought the chapel to Milwaukee, where it was re-constructed over the course of 2 years. It sits in the center of the campus, surrounded by trees, flowers & a small fountain, & was re-named & dedicated to Saint Joan of Arc in May of 1966. According to legend, right before Joan of Arc began her crusade against the English, she entered this chapel & knelt before the niche that supported a statue of Our Lady... she said a prayer, then stood & kissed one of the stones, which to this day remains colder than all the others. This chapel is the oldest building in the Western Hemisphere that is still used for it's intended purpose--the chapel has masses every Sunday, & has hosted many interfaith services as well. (When I went to take a closeup of that amazing door, which is covered in intricate wrought iron designs, I noticed the sign hanging on the door--made my husband go take it off & hold it 'till I was done....I told him if someone was going to get yelled at, better him than me! Ha Ha! He's a saint too!) :)