University Chapels in the Chicagoland Area

The Knot had a special blog this week titled Insanely Beautiful College Chapels.

It caused me to explore some of the "Insanely" beautiful college chapels in our own backyard.  Who Knew?


The Alice Millar Chapel and Religious Center is Northwestern University’s pride. It is comprised of two main chapels: the Millar Chapel and the Vail Chapel.

alicemillar chapel at Northwestern

The Millar Chapel is the oldest and most elaborately decorated part of the cathedral, and it is able to seat over 700 individuals. The chapel is built in elaborate Gothic style, and two rows of pews make one main center aisle that leads up to the platform and organ. The other chapel, Vail Chapel, was built much later and can seat just over 100 people. Both of these chapels are still used today by the university and the public.

Madonna della Strada is a chapel on the campus of Loyola University Chicago in the neighborhood of Rogers Park.  It is named after the mother  church of the Jesuit Province of Chicago (one of the largest Jesuit provinces). The chapel was built on the lakefront with the waters of Lake Michigan directly at its front doorstep

Madona Della Strada Chapel, Loyola University Chicago

The architects built the cathedral in the Art Deco Style in 1938 and later remodeled it in 2007 to reflect a more elegant, modern style. Members of the Loyola University still use this chapel for weekly devotions, mass, and other momentous occasions. It may also be rented for weddings.

16_-Madonna-Della-Strada-Chapel Loyola chicago

A small Neo Gothic chapel with soaring stained glass windows, Bond Chapel is one of Chicago's greatest hidden secrets

bond chapel u of Chicago

Opened in 1926 and located on University of Chicago's main quadrangle, it is used for weddings, memorial services, concerts and other ceremonial gatherings.

bond chapel 2

The chapel forms an integral part of the Divinity School and is connected to Swift Hall through a stone cloister. The chapel interior features stained glass designed by the Charles J. Connick Studio of Boston, donated to the chapel in 1949. The Betty J. Reneker Memorial Organ, custom built by Karl Wilhelm Inc. of Quebec in 1983, was relocated to Bond Chapel in 2012 from its previous location in the Chicago Theological Seminary.

The University of Chicago's efforts to erect a Chapel were realized when John D. Rockefeller presented the University with his “Final Gift” on December 13, 1910.  In the past, Rockefeller had given endowment funds rather than building funds, but on this occasion he requested that $1.5m of the final gift be devoted to the creation a chapel.  Rockefeller envisioned the Chapel as the “central and dominant feature of the University group.”

rockefeller chapel

In 1918, New York architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue (1869-1924) was asked to prepared designs for a University Chapel. Rockefeller’s desire that the spirit of religion be central to the University is materialized in the Chapel’s grandeur of design.


The world-famous organ, designed by E.M. Skinner (1866-1960), was built into the Chapel during its construction and dedicated with the Chapel in 1928. The carillon was added to the tower in 1932 and has been played daily since that date, with the exception of the time during its restoration in 2006-08. Other additions to the structure include the 1973 addition of the side aisle lancet windows, and the 1978 addition of the cinquefoil (five-pointed) window which casts red, gold, and blue light throughout the building.

A little further away we find The Chapel of the Resurrection in Valparaiso, Indiana, which is considered the biggest university-oriented cathedral in the U.S. and the second largest university cathedral in the world.


The chancel of the Chapel of the Resurrection is 98 feet high and is circular in shape with a roof shaped like a nine-point star.  The nave is 58 feet high and 193 feet long. There is seating for more than 2,000 people, although capacity varies depending upon the configuration of the moveable pews.

27_-Chapel-of-the-Resurrection valaparaso

It's amazing what you are prompted to learn when you read an interesting article or blog.  By looking in your own backyard you become aware of so many wonderful places to see and explore.  It's nice to know that we also have "Insanely" Beautiful University Chapels right here in Chicagoland.

A L'Amour


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