Our Lady Seat of Wisdom
Our lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel
is the crown jewel in the diadem of buildings which comprise the
Marist College campus.
the chapel was built in 1953, it's circular design was one of the
first for a Catholic church in the United States. The altar dominates
the center with the congregation intimately flowing completely around
it. It was not until the Second Vatican Council in 1965 that churches
began to move their altars into a similar relationship with their
Acting as contractor and using
simple building techniques,Brother Nilus built the chapel with Marist
Brothers' labor. Poured reinforced concrete abutments and walls
buttress laminated wood beams supporting the roof.
of stained glass windows, Brother Nilus borrowed an idea of Eastman
Kodak that he had seen displayed in Grand Central Station. He lined
the upper inner perimeter of the chapel with photographic images
of the Virgin Mary. On sheets of heavy plastic he embedded the images
of a model portraying the Madonna with accompanying quotes from
scripture. The plastic sheets were suspended on springs which compensated
for the expansion from the sunlight and the contraction during the
Depicting the Blessed Virgin
Mary was a professional model, Rita Hunt. She and her husband were
friends of Brother Nilus and she did the work gratis. In a subsequent
photo of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on Mary and the Apostles,
taken for the adjacent study hall, the photographer used the same
model along with some Marist Brothers construction workers as the
apostles.The photographic session had to be repeated because one
of the Marist apostles had forgotten to take off his wrist watch!
Unfortunately, over the years,
the images faded through the bleaching action of the sun.
Through its serenity and spirituality, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel
forms the core, the anchor and the inspiration for the Marist College