TMLA Dedicates Chapel of St. Joseph as Tribute to CSJ Commitment  

TMLA formally dedicated the newly renovated Chapel of St. Joseph on our campus on March 8 in honor of all the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood who have ministered at The Mary Louis Academy since we opened our doors over 85 years ago.

Before the ceremony of dedication began, visitors stopped to read names inscribed in glass on the wall outside the chapel. These names represent the 367 Sisters of St. Joseph who have ministered at TMLA since our founding in 1936. The wall provides a distinct way to honor the tremendous commitment of the Sisters of St. Joseph to our “home on the hill,” The Mary Louis Academy.

Over 40 Sisters of St. Joseph returned to TMLA for this celebration including the former Principals: S. Clara Santoro CSJ, S. Joan Petito CSJ, and S. Kathleen McKinney CSJ H’18, as well as former Assistant Principal, Sister Filippa Luciano CSJ ’54.  They were joined by the current TMLA administration of Principal, Mrs. Ann O’Hagan-Cordes ’84 and Assistant Principal, Mrs. Jean Mauro, as well as Trustees of TMLA and Leadership of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood to open the ceremony and formally name and bless the sacred space of the Chapel of St. Joseph.

Originally constructed in 1937 through the generosity of TMLA’s first two classes and their families, the Chapel was designed in the Mission style to blend seamlessly with the Mediterranean architecture of the existing Convent building (the former Rose Crest Mansion.) From its first years, the convent chapel was used by both the Sisters and the students of the Academy.  Nora Hillery, the first TMLA alumna to become a CSJ, had her Mass of Commitment in that chapel.

In 2011 when the convent building was renovated with a new purpose of providing TMLA with more classrooms, office spaces, and study areas, the convent Chapel took on new purposes as well. The Chapel was used for class retreats, First Friday Mass, and as a place for private prayer.

During 2021 extensive work was done to upgrade and restore the Chapel’s 150 year old oak pews, statues, inlaid marble altar and 12 stained glass windows. Specially designed new elements were added to honor and commemorate the founding of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Le Puy, France.  A shrine for Our Lady of Le Puy is a tribute to both our CSJ Founding Mothers – the first six women who came together in 1650 and formed the Sisters of St. Joseph, as well as our patron saint, Louis the King, who gifted the original statue to the cathedral in Le Puy. The names of the Founding Mothers will soon be added in a framed citation created by an alumna who is the Chief Calligrapher at the White House.

Four new murals depict the Four Women Doctors of the Church: Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Therese of Lisieux – women who can provide inspiration and encouragement for young women of today. These murals and the frescoed sanctuary ceiling were newly painted by two tremendously gifted women artists.

In the front of the Chapel stands a statue of St. Louis, patron saint of TMLA and of Mother Mary Louis, the CSJ General Superior who was instrumental in the founding of TMLA.  A statue of Mother Mary Louis will be added to the Chapel as well. A picture of St. Joseph as Patron of Fathers is also coming soon.

The newly renovated Chapel is a beautiful place of worship that more than doubles the capacity for TMLA daily liturgies and allows for the opportunity to make this space available for use by TMLA alums for smaller weddings, anniversary celebrations and memorial services.

It is certain that all who choose to visit this Chapel of St. Joseph will be favored by his special intercession.

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