SBM.11b01 Site of new Sacred Heart Chapel: west of the convent's Benedict wing and north of the academy's Gertrude Hall built in 1898
CONSTRUCTION OF SACRED HEART CHAPEL, SAINT BENEDICT'S MONASTERY, ST. JOSEPH, MN
(Site chosen in 1911) Serious discussions about the site of a new chapel began in late 1910. Professor Freehand of St. John's University, in a proposed architectural drawing, suggested that the chapel be built at the east entrance of Cecilia Hall extending toward the street and having its front entrance on that street. Since the distance from Cecilia Hall to the street was only 90 feet, it would be necessary to move the street. On March, 28, 1911, the sisters sent a petition to the village council to move it one-half mile farther east, "Nothing more was ever heard of this petition, although the rumor had been circulated that the sisters were ready to pay $20,000 to the village for the removal." (CHRONICLES, p. 138) The location shown on the photo that would place the chapel at the west end of Benedict Hall (with the chapel's entrance leading directly into the convent corridors) was the final choice. There was no consideration given to a west entrance at that time because the campus to the west was devoted to the convent's farm enterprises.
On April 19, 1911, the Chapter (decision-making body of the community) voted in favor of building a chapel and at the same time enlarging the academy/college building by adding Teresa Hall to Gertrude Hall. During the next six weeks, Mother Cecilia Kapsner and Sister Priscilla Schmidtbauer journeyed throughout the eastern states to look at chapels, churches and monasteries. What made the most favorable impression upon them were the altar, pews, and choir stalls that E. Hackner from LaCrosse had made for the convents in Clyde, MO, and Atchison, KS. It was Hackner who recommended George P. Staudahar as architect. By September, Studahar had some of the architectural details worked out and it became evident that the estimated cost of $50,000 would fall short. When the estimate was then raised to $125,000, a contract was made with Butler Brothers from St. Paul for 8% of the cost. The final cost of the construction of the chapel was close to $200,000."(CHRONICLES, pp. 137-138)
Vivarium; Saint Benedict's Monastery - St. Joseph, MN