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OLLU celebrates 100th anniversary of Sacred Heart Chapel

Sep 08, 2023

OLLU celebrated the 100th anniversary of Sacred Heart Conventual Chapel today during the annual Spirit Day Mass. Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller served as the main celebrant.

The archbishop offered a special blessing for the chapel, which was dedicated in fall 1923. OLLU’s founders, the Sisters of Divine Providence, joined the celebration for a historic and beautiful chapel.

The English Gothic chapel was the vision of Mother Florence Walter, Superior General of the Congregation of Divine Providence from 1886-1925. In 1895, she looked down from Prospect Hill at a swath of wilderness and declared, “One day we will have a chapel here. And its spires will be seen throughout the city of San Antonio.” 

It took 11 years to fund the chapel. The Sisters sold needlework, candy and gifts. They received pennies from children they taught across Texas. Donations from 15,000 students funded the altar, which is made of Italian marble.

The Sisters hired a renowned architect to design the chapel. Leo Dielmann created an architectural wonder. Magnificent arches. Stained glass windows. A marble altar. Dielmann designed more than 100 churches and buildings. Dielmann’s family chose Sacred Heart Chapel as the site of his funeral in 1969.

During Spirit Day, OLLU joined more than 200 Catholic universities across the nation in celebrating the tradition of calling on the Holy Spirit to bless our academic year.

OLLU also honored faculty and staff who celebrated 10+ years of service to the university. Those who were recognized have contributed a collective 615 years to OLLU and its students.