Thursday, July 27, 2006

Prayer for Cardinal George

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion --- inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Stop Simony! Restore Barat Chapel

The Vincentians at DePaul, in response to a minor dispute with the City of Lake Forest Illinois over a parking garage, decided that the 100 year tradition of Catholic Eduction in the pastoral wonderland setting of Lake Forest was not a worthy goal for their institution. Thus DePaul, dropped all support for the mission of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, and sold the sacred structures of Barat Convent and College to a Presbyterian real-estate developer.

In this DePaul has shown a total disdain for education and the stewardship of Church resources, opting to take the quick buck rather than fufill their promise of providing a Catholic Education to the people of Chicago and Lake County.

A meeting tonight of the Lake Forest City Council, is one of the last opportunities for the public to chime in for the historical and ecclesiological preservation of the Chapel of the Convent of the Sacred Heart. The developer, has stated that he cannot make enough money without the desecration and demolition of the Chapel. I ask you, is Simony a good enough reason to destroy the Sacred Architecture of Chicago?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

More Insignias

Here are some shots from the last few days of milling around Chicago, looking for insignias. The Congress Hotel has some gems, as it has avoided updating many of its architectural features. USML, is of course Mundelein Seminary, University of St. Mary's of the Lake. TC, is Samuel Insull's Tower Club, formerly his private apartment near the top of the Lyric Opera Building.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Festa di Tutti i Santi Sunday August 27, 2006


Shall the Society of St. Barbara constuct a banner and march in procession for Festa di Tutti Santi at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii? This from my friend Marcia at the Shrine:

"Include Your Saint Society in the Procession. The festa begins with a special Mass at 11:00 AM, followed by a procession of Italian saint societies carrying their banners around Arrigo Park.
If your saint society would like to participate, please call Marcia Piemonte at the Shrine office ate (312) 421-3757 or email We would be most honored to have your society join us!"

Anyone up for a March around Cabrini hospital and over to Taylor Steret, with perhaps some family fun and food afterwards?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Nifty Insignias-Where did they Go?

Anyone out there collect scripts and insignias from Religious and Fraternal Clubs? Thought so. I am guessing that about 50% of our readers do in fact. Take a look at these. They have a stature and importance greater than simple initials, gained soley by mise-en-scene, and thoughts of grandeur, very faded in the case of the Alpha and Omega from St. John of God, and the faded jewel of a hotel, the Congress Plaza, while the St. Louis Cardinals always are a contender, in art and in Baseball.

It there more on this? Is there a name for this artwork?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Century of Progress (or Not)

The Chicago Reader has a pleasant, if generally wrong, feature article about the modernist houses concocted for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. The houses were constructed at Beverly Shores, Indiana to promote a resort development, that never really took off. The article is nicely documented, if overly complementary to the transient style of modernism.

The 1892 Worlds Fair produced the Spanish Pavillion, now La Rabida Hospital also pictured here, makes for a much finer presentation along Lake Michigan. I will take a current picture next time I am on the South Shore.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Did Burnham say "Make Middling Muddled Plans"?

No question about it, Betram Goodhue's 1918 Rockerfeller Chapel is a masterpiece of stone and concrete on Chicago's South Side. So today's announcement in the Tribune that Conrad Schmitt has been hired to restore Lee Lawrie and Ulric Ellerhausen's "sculptures" of St. Paul and St. Francis sounds like a splendid project, if that was what was actually happening.

But the sculptures are not being restored. The plaster models for sculptures are being re-stucktogether and displayed at eye level, so that visitors can get a better look at them. This isn't the worst news I have ever read. It is also a rather bland project for a major institution and a major source of funds in architectural restoration and preservation.

Take a look at the archaic chapel website. Minimal photos, javascript errors, inaccurate opening times, and a 6 month old newsletter, all indicative of the lack of maintenance and attention to inaccurate details symptomatic of a broken system. Visit the chapel, and note that deferred maintenance, inappropriate displays, and broken masonry are not only Catholic illnesses.

How to do this better? Well, what about actually sculpting the missing LIMESTONE figures, and getting them displayed as Goodham wanted? Sure, lets see the models, but finish the project as a first priority, given the 80 year lag between design and display. After all, shouldn't we get to see a sculpture of Martin Luther standing across from a sacred rendering of Woodrow Wilson? How about Rockerfeller nemisis Teddy Roosevelt staring down St. Augustine? And how about at least one COLOR photo where the camera is steady of the interior of the grand Chapel?

I will give U of C 1 point for keeping the doors open, and displaying the artists craft. But given the nearly unlimited resources of the University, let's make some bigger plans.