Heart of the Campus

March 15, 2011

When we invited alumni who had been married in Alumni Memorial Chapel to submit their wedding photographs, we knew they would respond. Over the past few months, we have collected more photos than we could ever fit in a print issue of Loyola magazine.

Flower girl

As an unexpected bonus, when brides and grooms sent their photos, many also enthusiastically shared their stories—describing wedding-planning obstacles, dreadful or delightful weather, even errors that are more amusing a few years later.

Their stories took me back to the first wedding I ever attended in the Chapel in May 1982. My Aunt Cyndi, and uncle, Brian Sullivan,’78, MBA ’83, had asked me to be their flower girl—a dream come true for a 5-year-old. When we arrived at the Chapel on that sunny morning, the florist had delivered all of the flowers—all except the petals the flower girl was supposed to sprinkle along the aisle. The enterprising bridesmaids found a basket and we set to work plucking blossoms off the bushes outside the Chapel.

Baptism

The campus held a special place in my heart long before I joined the Loyola family to edit the magazine. I was just two-and-a-half-weeks-old when I was baptized by Rev. William M.J. Driscoll, S.J., in Loyola’s Chapel (holding me in this photo is my grandmother, Rita Sullivan, M.Ed.’70). I received my First Communion from my great-uncle, Rev. Miles Fay, S.J., in a small chapel in the building that is now the Humanities Center. Every Christmas we gathered for Mass in that chapel with Uncle Miles and posed for photos in front of the Nativity set there. Now that I work for Loyola, I have added the uplifting candlelit Lessons and Carols to my chapel memories. Whenever I visit that space, the Chapel never fails to offer beauty and serenity.

A few weeks ago I spoke with Sean Gallagher, ’11, a Campus Ministry intern who has compiled a booklet on the Chapel’s stained glass. He said he is always struck by the colors the sunlight brings streaming through the windows and onto the floor. “The grand piano has been my place of refuge for a long time,” Sean said. “I like just being able to sit there and look at the rose window directly over the tabernacle.”

Why is the Chapel special to you? Please share your memories here or write to me at magazine@loyola.edu.

Rita

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