“And they shall make me a sanctuary, and I will dwell in the midst of them.” Exodus 25:8
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament chapel at Marytown is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful religious sites in America. The adoration chapel is patterned after St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, one of four Roman patriarchal basilicas. Its breathtaking stained glass, mosaics and marble work have been invested with a spiritual symbolism that bespeaks of the richness of the Catholic tradition. Every pilgrim’s focal point is the five feet, two inches tall monstrance above the high altar.
Over the years, the Marytown friars have added the spirit of St. Francis to the chapel. One example is the splendid San Damiano crucifix. It replicates the original one in Assisi, Italy, through which the Lord commissioned Francis to “Rebuild my Church.”
“Breathtaking . . . But most important, holy.”
Ken T., Overland Park, Kansas
UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS OF MARYTOWN
The beauty of the perpetual Eucharistic adoration chapel at Marytown is, in a word, wondrous. The mosaics, stained glass windows and religions articles are not simply adornments, but are filled with spiritual symbolism that instruct and inspire the visitor. Here are just some of the chapel’s unique artistic characteristics.
- The Eucharistic monstrance is five feet, two inches tall, and has been entirely fashioned from sacrificial gifts of jewelry.
- Nine species of imported marble make up the sancruary altar’s construction. The frontal area has three masterful mosaics depicting Eucharistic themes.
- The inner walls of the gold plated tabernacle are etched with the names of the original benefactors of the chapel.
- The baldachin surrounding the monstrance is gold-leafed and made of Rosa Carallo marble and teakwood. The ceiling is gold-leafed, as well.
- Thirty-eight marble columns are made of six types of marble, with each column dedicated to a Catholic saint.
- The splendid mosaics of six Conventual Franciscan saints along the walls were installed by the Conventual Franciscans in 1982. Four mosaics depict the life of St. Maximilian Kolbe.
- The fourteen mosaics of the upper walls depict the Joys and Glories of the Blessed Virgin. They were designed by one of the foremost art studios of Austria.
- The awesome mosaic in the triumphal arch above the sanctuary depicts the Eucharist as the source of life for the entire Church.
- The rear mosaic is of Christ the King, reigning over the chapel and the world.
- Each of the eleven windows of the central area for a “triptych”, a sequence of three images. Each image sets forth a particular doctrine of the Eucharist: as foreshadowed in the Old Testament, fulfilled in the New Testament, developed in the middle Ages, continued in modern times.
- Ninety-nine Eucharistic symbols in total are interwoven as borders around the windows. Incredibly, there is not one image that is duplicated.
- The upper windows feature nine choirs of angels bearing sacred vessels and vestments for the Sacrifice of the Mass. The archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael stand vigilant at the rear wall.
- Chapel of the Sorrowful Mother: The mosaic above the altar of ten types of marble depicts Mary as Co-redemptrix, holding in anguish her Son beneath the cross. The walls display seven foot tall replicas of the famous Seven Sorrows of Mary by the Belgian painter Joseph Jannsen. Three stained glass windows honor Mary in triptych as Daughter of the father, Mother of the Son and Spouse of the Spirit.
- Passion/Kolbe Chapel: Features on one end a mosaic of Christ as an abused criminal, crowned with thorns. The other end is a mosaic (eleven feet tall) of Saint Maximilian, “Martyr of Charity” (Pope John Paul II), rising triumphant from the starvation bunker and the death camp. Visitors can venerate his first class relics located below the mosaic.