St. Joseph Chapel celebrates 100 years
Built in 1909-1910, St. Joseph Chapel is the center of the faith community at Spring Hill College. And, for many, the Chapel represents milestones in their lives, from baptisms to weddings. It proclaims the Jesuit identity of the College and fosters the spiritual growth of each student during his or her college experience at Spring Hill. Celebrating the chapel’s centennial year, alumni and friends reflect on St. Joseph’s impact on their lives.
“From the moment we stepped inside St. Joseph Chapel, I knew we all had made the correct choice for college. Hardly a ‘chapel,’ it is a beautiful, peaceful and cool place to share with the Spring Hill community. Living so far away from Mobile (Baltimore, Md.), it gave me great peace of mind after leaving the Sunday service that freshman year. And four years later, in 2009, the baccalaureate service on graduation weekend made me wish I could attend Mass every Sunday at St Joseph. Oh, for homilies that teach us, inspire us and remind us how we must care for each other. How lucky your students and Mobile!”– Pat Bailey, Parent, Sparks Glencoe, MD
– Lee May ’08, Auburn, AL
“St. Joseph Chapel has the quietest of nights and the most beautiful of sunset memories for me. This is where I found the Catholic faith and the beauty it holds.”
– Kate Browning ’05, Mobile, AL
“9/11 happened my freshman year at SHC. On that terrible day, the community gathered at St. Joseph for an impromptu prayer service. It was moments like that when I would feel so blessed to be a part of the Spring Hill family. As I looked at all of the faces around me, I fell in love with Spring Hill. The people I was sitting with that day are still some of my dearest friends.”
– Rob Silk ’77, Silver Spring, MD
“Special weekday Mass said for Omicron Sigma Fraternity, 1976”
– Julie Walsh ’90, Honolulu, HI
“Pat Swingle singing “There is a Balm in Gilead” while Ira played the organ. God bless the Swingles – may they rest in peace.”
– Carol Falk Ganucheau ’08, Slidell, LA
“Freshman year, my good friend Adam Ganucheau and I would come to the chapel late at night to talk about life – God, school, friends, relationships, whatever was on our minds. In the stillness of the chapel, God was working through each of us in ways we didn’t even see back then. Adam is now my brother-in-law. My husband Jeff and I may never have met and dated without those late night heart-to-hearts with Adam in St. Joseph Chapel.”
“My first memory of St. Joseph Chapel was a visit to the campus right before my sister graduated in 1996. At the age of 11, I was in awe of its beauty as it was unlike any sanctuary I had seen before. The majestic statues depicting the Stations of the Cross haunted me. The grandeur and simplicity of the Gothic architecture gave me my first sense of the universal church. I had thought that chapels like St. Joseph only existed in Europe and other distant lands, yet here was one on the Gulf Coast. The Chapel’s age and beauty made me feel like a yarn in the colorful tapestry of the church and helped me recognize that a global Church was one that included me and the place I call home.
Years later as a student at Spring Hill, I fell in love with the Chapel. My freshman year, St. Joseph Chapel was undergoing its most recent renovation. As such, its beauty was mostly hidden. Nonetheless, I felt a deep connection to the history of the campus and a true sense of God's presence within its walls. The warm light that shines out its amber windows was like the warm embrace of God. I felt like part of something bigger. …
Most of the time I spent in the Chapel as a student involved serving on the altar, preparing for Mass as a sacristan, or practicing with the Troubadours. However, the memories that stick out most were the late nights of prayer and reflection when St. Joseph Chapel was a refuge from the shipwrecks I often faced. Sitting in the pews in the stillness of the night awakened me to the true peace that only comes from God. There is no other place on earth with as much spiritual meaning for me. I cannot stop by the campus without paying at least a short visit.
The true ‘wisdom flowing from the hill’ is the centrality of Christ in its mission. The true beauty of the Hill is the centrality of St. Joseph Chapel on its campus.”– Chris Holcomb ’07, Pensacola, FL
– Melissa Hughes ’01, Mobile, AL
“My husband and I met for the first time at a Saturday night party in the Badgers Den. The following morning we were pleasantly surprised to run into each other at 11 a.m. Mass at St. Joseph Chapel. He was serving as an usher, and I was a Eucharistic minister. He asked me to join him for brunch, and the relationship grew from there. Two and a half years later, we celebrated our wedding ceremony at the chapel followed by a reception at Stewartfield. In 2006 and 2007, Father Jesus Rodriguez, S.J., christened our children in St. Joseph's beautiful new fountain. We are so blessed to have shared the Spring Hill experience, especially with St. Joseph Chapel playing such an important role in our lives.”