I’ve had a few days to relax and retreat (and yes, work) while at Chiara Center in Springfield, IL. It’s a lovely place, and the Sisters are very hospitable and this is a very modern facility. I love the Franciscan heritage and the profoundly beautiful St Francis of Assisi church on the property. (Read all about it, with photos. in this PDF.)
My prayer times have been very special. And, well, my Catholic geeky side has been enthralled, much like when I’ve been at other cathedrals, basilicas, or shrines. Thought you’d like to share in the fun.
Of course the oldest things in here, beside the dirt the church is built on, are the relics. Let’s start with the church’s patron, St Francis.
St Francis of Assisi’s reliquary
First class relic, bone of the saint.
Ornate reliquary containing a fragment of the True Cross, with authentication alongside.
Close up of a splinter from the Cross
A view from across the grounds.
Facade of St Francis Assisi Church
A mosaic of Francis is over the front door “greeting” you as you arrive… it’s Francis depicted as receiving the stigmata. (Don’t know what that is? Go look it up.)
There’s wonderful marbles and stained glass and art all through the church.
A view from the rear balcony
Inside the dome.
The tabernacle, complete with cherubim, reminiscent of the Ark of the Covenant.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help. (Yes that is all marble from several different European countries.) (This is kind of rare to see in the States.)
St Teresa of Avila
St Rita of Cascia
St Rose of Lima
St Joseph with the child Jesus
St John the Evangelist, and beloved disciple
I love this depiction of Martha and Mary of Bethany with Jesus.
This one stirred me… Jesus in Gethsemane — the agony in the Garden.
“Ecce Homo” = “Behold the man.” (What Pilate said about Jesus.) (And yes, those eyes are amazing. I never before felt like stained glass was staring at me till I saw this one)
Entrance to Chiara Center – where tomorrow 100+ women from the Diocese of Springfield will come for our women’s conference together.
One more of St Francis, from the grounds.
All photos taken by me, Pat Gohn, with my trusty iPhone 4s.