In November 2022, restoration began on the interior of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in the Ursuline Motherhouse. Built in 1917 as part of the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville’s Motherhouse, the chapel has been the spiritual center of the campus. The renovation was funded by the Chapel Preservation Fund Campaign, which ran from 2017–2022.

Sacred Heart Academy alumnae Amy Montgomery Bergeron (SHA ’94) and Anna Cristofoli Tatman (SHA ’78) were chosen to complete the renovation. Amy Bergeron owns Whitehouse Residential & Commercial Painting and was named lead project manager for the renovation. Anna Tatman, of Rosa Mosaics & Tile Company, served as the flooring contractor.

Of the renovation,  Amy Bergeron said, “I was honored to be asked to oversee this important project. I am an active alum of Sacred Heart Academy, and my daughter, who is a high school junior, is now the fifth generation
of our family to be educated on
this campus.”

Paint colors were matched and mixed to reflect similar colors used in the previous renovation, which occurred nearly 30 years prior. “There are a total of 11 different colors in varying shades of white, cream, gray, green and rose, and 23 karat gold leaf that went into this dome. The gold leaf highlighted specific areas on the angel wings, animal horns and crosses,” Amy Bergeron added.

Other upgrades included removing and rebuilding the existing flooring, updating electrical systems, adding LED lighting for the first time to uplight the dome, enhancing the sound system, and rewiring and restoring the sconces throughout the building to their original brass finishes. Additionally, the lower-level library that supports the chapel was updated and has been renamed the Desenzano Conference Room, in honor of the birthpace of Saint Angela Merici: Desenzano del Garda, Italy.

Anna Tatman and her team removed three layers of flooring, revealing the original wood floor. Engineers improved the joists supporting the structure, some of which had sagged and some which had split over decades. “Once this work was completed, we replaced many of the wooden subfloor panels, rebuilt the lower altar platform, and formed the wood structures to support the mechanical units around the perimeter of the chapel,” said Anna Tatman, adding, “Our team installed a 2” thick mortar bed and laid the 24” x 24” Italian white Carrara marble floor panels with Verdi Alpi marble accents to highlight the main aisle leading to the altar. The green marble was chosen to connect with the green mosaic tile color in the floor mosaic in the outer chapel court around the main chapel.”

The restoration was completed in August 2023. The Ursuline Sisters and Sacred Heart Schools staff conducted a blessing service on September 1 to open the space to the public. Ursuline President Sister Jean Anne Zappa stated, “It is with heartfelt gratitude that we thank our donors for their support and generosity for the Chapel Preservation Fund. The completion of the chapel restoration is a testament to your commitment to preserve a space of worship and gathering for the ages.”

At a recent Mass held in the Motherhouse Chapel with the Gold Level Chapel Preservation Fund donors, Archbishop Shelton Fabre shared, “We come to this chapel to be challenged to utilize the gifts God had given us, to build up our families, our communities and the people of God.

This sacred space reminds us of the nearness of the one God who is present in our lives, who desires a relationship of love with us. Restoring this wonderful space reminds us of that love, and that all are welcome here.”

The Ursuline Sisters of Louisville transferred ownership and stewardship of the Chapel Preservation Fund to Sacred Heart Schools on January 27, 2022, St. Angela’s Feast Day, to ensure that the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the chapel will continue into perpetuity. Sacred Heart Schools are now the primary caretaker of the chapel, which will continue to be a place of worship for the Sisters, Associates and schools on the Ursuline campus.

“The Chapel is one of the most important and sacred spaces on our campus,” said Dr. Karen McNay, president of Sacred Heart Schools. “The Ursuline Sisters entrusted us with this cherished part of their campus, and we embarked on the restoration project to ensure the chapel will endure for another 100 years.”

Thank you to all the Chapel Preservation Fund donors who made this major restoration project possible, ensuring the chapel will be in use for generations to come.