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The year-long Centennial celebration of the Ursuline Motherhouse Chapel in Louisville, Kentucky, opened with the sounds of a trumpet, hand bells and songs, at the liturgy on January 29. The Louisville Chorus Ensemble and the Bells of St. Mary’s Hand Bell Choir filled the worship space with music. The chilly Sunday morning weather, with 200 people in attendance, was slightly reminiscent of the wintry day the chapel was dedicated 100 years ago on December 8, 1917.

Presider Father William Fichteman said, “For 159 years now, the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville have been instruments of God’s mercy. We stand on holy ground because of the prayer and song that have filled this space; also the devotion of homebound Catholics who have watched Mass of the Air originate from this space for the past 20 years; and also the voices of the many children from the Ursuline sponsored schools who pray here.”

President Sister Janet Marie Peterworth told those gathered, “A hundred years ago about this time finishing touches were being put on this chapel. I can only imagine the excitement the sisters were experiencing. Now a hundred years later we are honoring their courage to undertake building such a structure. I would like to think that those sisters dreamed of what this chapel would be and how it would touch the lives of so many.” She continued by saying, “This is where since 1917 more than 600 young women knelt to publically commit themselves to a consecrated life of poverty, celibacy, obedience, and teaching Christian Living. This is where the community has gathered countless times to say a final farewell to sisters who have died. Over the years this chapel has been the place where we have come to elect our leadership, celebrate jubilees, and to be sent forth to carry St. Angela’s charism to others.”

A responsorial - How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place – was commissioned by Sister Janet Marie and created by Dr. Timothy Glasscock, Choral Director and Department Chair for the Bellarmine University Music Department. It will be sung at all Motherhouse liturgies during this Centennial year.

Those gathered were invited to contribute to the Chapel Preservation Fund to assure the chapel gets immediate upgrades and that it continues to be a source of ministry. In closing, Father Fichteman said, “We are blessed to be able to give thanks for all that has made this ground sacred over the last 100 years. May it continue so for years to come.”

To see photos from the event, click here.

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