Unique Feature of Vesting Prayers in Decorative Window (University of St. Thomas)

As a  young college student I would sometimes find my way to the basement of our university chapel to pray.  There I discovered this unique window displaying the vesting prayers.  I imagine it was once part of a crypt chapel sacristy that existed according to the original plan of the design and layout.  The upstairs chapel was dedicated in 1919. The lower chapel was originally dedicated to St. William, in honor of the patron saint of Fr. William Coughlin who had financed the chapel's construction with his personal funds. I have many fond memories praying here during my four years as a student at the University of St. Thomas.  The chapel is known as the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas.  Since 1993 the lower chapel has been called the Florance Chapel (an unfortunate decision to satisfy a benefactor). The upper and lower chapels are beautiful liturgical spaces that I hope and pray will one day be restored to their original splendor.  

The interior of both chapels are a far cry from their original layout and design; the chapel was wreckovated in 1977-1978 and in the upstairs main chapel a massive concert organ replaced the precious Daprato altar of Carrara (needless to say, the altar ended up in a dumpster and is today in a landfill).  That altar was a masterpiece, made in Italy according to the original specifications of the architect, the great E.L. Masqueray.  Two black and white images of it can be seen below.  Masqueray never lived to see the chapel completed because he died in 1917 while it was under construction.  Our old college chaplain, Msgr. James Lavin, once told me when they took the old marble out, the construction workers were ordered to lay it in a jumble of pieces on the front lawn in the rain.  The old Monsignor who had given his life to ministry in the chapel was still in shock as he retold the story years later.    

There are five stained-glass widows in the basement chapel. They depict the five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. The windows were made locally and were installed between 1940 and 1943. All were planned and executed according to the directions of Fr. Walter LeBeau, who was director of religion at the then College of St. Thomas. The windows were made in Minneapolis by the Weston and Leighton Company. The master artisan was Chester Leighton. These windows are treasures of inestimable value. Also of great value is a work of art found in the same basement chapel, the rood cross that dates from 17th century Spain. It was acquired by Fr. Coughlin during his travels in Spain and donated by him to the chapel.   

Source: Decorations of the Campus Chapel, College of St. Thomas by Fr. Marvin O'Connell.   

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