I don’t want to upset any of you with this, but I am going to inflict a word on you poor ignorant readers which many consider to be tooo haaard for Mary and Joe Catholic.
Yes, I mean the dread
Some of you will recall that, during the debates on the new, corrected translation of the Roman Missal, some feet-draggers and naysayers claimed that you numbskulls out there in the pews would, when hearing words such as “ineffable”, curl up into shivering balls and suck your thumbs in confusion.
From the Journal Sentinel of Milwaukee.
Sisters’ chapel remains an exquisite tribute to the divine
What is holy is perhaps, by its very nature, ineffable.
Still, we try.
We compose music. Create paintings. Carve statues. Write poems.
We build sacred places and fill them with sacred things, trying to make firm what many believe is impossible to touch. The effort is very human, sure to fall short, and the best attempts are therefore all the more exquisite.
Milwaukee is dotted with such places. Some are right there, out in the open – Calatrava’s brise soleil, for instance.
Others are all but hidden. Among the all but hidden, none is more extraordinary than the School Sisters of St. Francis’ 95-year-old St. Joseph Chapel.
Given its dimensions – a cruciform 200 feet long, 90 feet wide, with a dome that reaches 70 feet above the sanctuary floor – its very location is unlikely.
Come through the St. Joseph Center’s nondescript entry in the 1500 block of S. Layton Blvd., sign in at the front desk and follow directions to the second floor. Look for the room with a cathedral in it.
On a recent afternoon, Sister Barbaralie Stiefermann, a member of the School Sisters of St. Francis community and one of the chapel’s docents, sat in a pew not far from where her father sat on June 13, 1950, and wept as he watched her become a sister.
To be a docent for the chapel appears to be an irregular job. The chapel is open to anyone, but few visit other than prayerful sisters and the occasional awed architect, historian or art student.
“People have been going by here for decades and don’t even know we exist,” Sister Barbaralie says.
“It’s a shame.”