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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