On the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee Wisconsin there’s a chapel. That’s not unusual for a Jesuit college campus. But, this chapel wasn’t built on Marquette’s grounds, this one, the Saint Joan of Arc Chapel, was built in the 15th century as the Chapelle de St. Martin de Sayssuel in the French village of Chasse.
The chapel was purchased in 1926 by millionaire Gertrude Hill Gavin who had it dismantled stone by stone and rebuilt, using the same stones, on her Long Island estate. In 1964 it was given to Marquette who had it disassembled again for shipment to Milwaukee.
Although the exterior of the chapel is of remarkable Gothic architecture, it’s what’s inside that is the piece d’resistance; the Joan of Arc stone. Documents sent with the chapel show that in1429 this stone supported a statue of the Virgin Mary, before which Joan of Arc prayed then, kissed the stone prior to leading her countrymen into battle with the British in the Hundred Years War.
Original ecclesiastical contents were shipped with the chapel; a 15th century Gothic altar, a 14th century tapestry depicting the Virgin Mary, priests and angels, along with wooden prayer kneelers, a crucifix, a baptismal and a Gothic font, all these pre-date the tapestry and the chapel. Oh, and those orb like things dotting the front lawn – 2nd century Roman urns.
The St. Joan of Arc Chapel is absolutely astounding; seeing it you can’t help but think of Ingrid Bergman who played Saint Joan so beautifully in the 1948 film Joan of Arc.
If You Go
St. Joan of Arc Chapel, Marquette University
The chapel is open for tours Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm, Sunday 12noon – 4pom. Mass is said Monday – Friday at 12noon, Monday – Thursday at 12noon and 10pm.
Marquette University, 735 North 17th St. Milwaukee, WI 53233.