Campus replay: St. Joan of Arc Chapel

Campus replay

Celebrating the 50th anniversary at Marquette

St. Joan of Arc Chapel, a lovely example of 15th century architecture, is a beloved building on campus.

The chapel, originally known as the Chapelle de St. Martin de Sayssuel, was built in the small French village of Chasse. It fell into severe disrepair after the French Revolution, when it was spotted by Jacques Couëlle, a French architect. Couëlle worked with Gertrude Hill Gavin, the daughter of American railroad magnate James J. Hill, to transfer the chapel to Gavin’s estate on Long Island, N.Y.

The chapel was dismantled and moved once more when Marc and Lillian Rojtman gave it to Marquette in 1964. In materials prepared for a dedication ceremony, then-professor of English Dr. John Pick wrote: “Each stone was marked in three places: green for the top, red for the bottom, the inside carrying the number of the stone in relation to the others.” Eighteen thousand terra cotta roof tiles were packed for shipment and a fleet of trucks drove west, bearing this gift to Milwaukee, where reconstruction began in July 1965 and workers lovingly toiled to reassemble the pieces.

The chapel was dedicated to St. Joan of Arc on May 26, 1966. It stands in a garden spot at the heart of campus and attracts visitors from around the world. For students and alumni, the serene setting remains a favorite place to pray and relax — inside or in the surrounding gardens. — MK



  1. I remember well its construction during my Freshman year. Would pass through the area everyday between classes on opposite sides of the campus. Was glad to see it completed at the end of that year. It remained a landmark in my life during the remainder of my undergrad years and become one again when I returned in the 70s for grad school.

  2. Lived in Stewart Hall,right next door, at the time. Enjoyed watching the construction take place as we went to and from our dorm rooms. Stewart Hall was demolished years ago (not sure when) . Thank goodness for the gift and legacy of the Joan of Arc Chapel.

    Tim Monnig
    Arts 1968

  3. I enjoyed many of weeknight masses in that wonderful spot. Stepping into that chapel for only 15 or 20 minutes gave me such strength.

  4. I came into the Catholic Church at Gesu, but frequently went to Mass at St.Joan of Arc Chapel while attending MU Dental class of ’70. This Chapel helped me to reunite and appreciate the Catholic Church sustained by the Apostles and shared by my ancestors as their greatest gift to me.Christ lives in our hearts and at the heart of Marquett’s campus and family.

  5. I graduated from Marquette in 2013 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I work in an ICU where I recently took care of a patient who was a student at Marquette while they were building the St. Joan of Arc chapel. Funny how this article comes out within a few weeks after that meeting! Love the alumni family and the chapel. Go Marquette.

  6. St. Joan of Arc is where I first told my wife that I love her. That was 19 years ago. We’ve been married 16 years now.

  7. My grandson is attending Marquette now. I hope to visit this beautiful chapel while he is there. I pray for blessing on him and all students of Marquette.

  8. I went to mass there at 10 pm on weekdays (directly from the library) more times than I could count. I felt closer to God and our group of “regulars” than any other church setting at any time before or after in my faith life. Sitting on the ground, giving voice to our individual intentions (which included one night praying for my Grandpa who had died, my first relative ever to die) was a deeply moving and important part of the experience.

    I really hope that when I go for my reunion this year that it will be available either to go in or preferably a service of some kind.

  9. Love this quiet serene place of
    worship. I feel akin to the faithful of ages past when I’m there. It gives meaning that from age to age you gather a people unto Yourself so that a perfect offering can be made to the glory of Your Name!

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