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?


Marcus Scotus said...


This is a terrible shame.

James said...

What a disgrace. I'll add saving Barat Chapel to my intentions.

Stephen said...

Say it ain't so!

I am ill to my stomach just thinking about someone destroying that beautiful treasure!

Is there nothing sacred anymore?!?!?!

DePaul! Come to your senses!

Raindear said...

What a tragedy! Abbot Suger, ora pro nobis!

Jane said...

I'll be praying too. I hope that the plans for tearing that beautiful building down will not go through.

Meredith said...

Who would dare to lay sacriligeous hands on that shrine of beauty?

I don't understand.

Mark said...

This is sickening. May God stop the hand of this "developer."

I almost expressed the wish that he'd get to develop Satan's neighborhood, but that might be a bit uncharitable.


Anonymous said...

Talk is very cheap. This is a very real problem. Yes, Barat Chapel should have Landmark Status. Money is needed to make this happen. People need to step up to the plate.

Anonymous said...

Hey do not blame the developer put the blame on DePaul they are truly the demons in this case. They too the money and ran with no provision for the sacred Chapel

JB Powers said...

Anon 10: 51 Aug 24,

The Chapel is in very fine condition. It really needs only routine maintnenance, and landmark protection.

11:49 PM, August 29
The developer made the deal with DePaul at a lower price to reflect the risks involved with a historic building. If the building was not a landmark, and a teardown was simple, he would have paid more. Now he wants special permission to increase his profit margin. Simple answer..NO.


Anonymous said...

I think it is obvious none of you has any direct knowledge of the situation, including how much was paid for it. Which of you wants to start the fund drive to raise the $7-10million it will take to restore this church? It has not had any meaningful work done on it since the 20's when Albert Schmitt completed the frescoes and other artwork. Further, no one has cared (including DePaul) to as much as visit and make meaningful donations to its upkeep. Then Bob Shaw, long time Lake Forest resident with a long history of developing areas into homesites with great respect for their setting comes along. Bob has developed Academy Woods on Lake Forest Academy, in the '80s, Middlefork Farms and Elawa Farms restoration and the preservation, with his help, of the adjoining Middlefork Savanna, in the '90s. Now he tries to utilize a property that has been neglected since I was in college there in the early '70s and suddenly he's the anti-Christ! Get your facts straight. As the Barat Foundation says, this is not about bricks and mortar, but about the spirit living on. At this point, neither will live on. The chapel will crumble. Worse, when Shaw can no longer keep fighting all this, he can sell it to an outside developer who doesn't care about Old Main, the ravines or a home for the foundation. The City of Lake Forest, who has to see that it is utilized, will agree to to a development of truly frightening proportions!

JB Powers said...

Anon 8:59

I have a great deal of direct knowledge of the situation, and am in contact with the alumni association and the retired nuns every week.

I am hereby charging the DePaul and Barat Education Foundation with Simony. They know nothing of the Liturgy of Bricks and Mortar and desecrate the Church and Sacred Heart Order with their claims.


JB Powers said...

Anon 8:59

"Which of you wants to start the fund drive to raise the $7-10million it will take to restore this church?"

The Chapel is in very fine condition. It really needs only routine maintnenance, and landmark protection.

In the vile world of defrauding Nuns, $7 Million may seem reasonable to run a vacuum cleaner. To an honest donor, the half hour it would take to run the vacuum would a tremendous gift, more valuable than any amount of cash.


Anonymous said...

As the saga wends its way on, I say, cheers to the Barat Chapel, you will not fall easily. I hope you never fall at all!

As to the person who said that there had been no work done to the chapel since the early 1970s, or earlier, I say you are wrong. I remember extensive restoration given to the ceiling in the early 1980s. Other than that, the chapel has always been in fine shape and didn't need restoration.

As to Bob Shaw respecting the property, can you honestly say that taking frescoes and statues that were created for indoor use and placing them outdoors in a "protected" area is showing them respect? How long before the damage sets in?

I propose we all say a Memorare to Mater, asking that the Preservationists prevail.

Anonymous said...


Anon, the chapel had a total revamp in the late 80's early 90's. Check your facts before you write. Barat is gone and there is nothing anyone can do about that,but maybe saving just a little of it is worthwhile. Your heart must be very hard and the dollars that can be made are all that matter. It is sad that Depaul did not give us a fair shake and that the trustees of Barat sold it so quickly and did not think about how to save it.

Also how many condos does the
world need.


JB Powers said...

Hi Shane,

The chapel did not have a total revamp. The communion rail and high altar are very much in place. The Nuns high backed chairs are also facing inward towards the students, and novices.

Take a look at the picture. That was in 2004. Perhaps you are thinking of Sacred Heart on Sheridan Road, which is underwent a chapel demolition, but now is being re-Christianized.