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