August 15, 2009
Panhandle, TEXAS, August 15, 2009 – The School Sisters of St. Francis recently unveiled their newly-renovated chapel of Our Lady of the Angels which is located at Sancta Maria Convent in Panhandle. Bishop Patrick J. Zurek officiated at a solemn Mass to rededicate the chapel. Also in attendance were friends and benefactors of the School Sisters of St. Francis.
Originally built in 1964, the chapel now prominently features an exquisite hand-painted mural of the Holy Trinity and four Franciscan saints by artisan Andrew Hattermann of Murals by Jericho in Peoria, Illinois. The three-piece framed mural covers a 24x12 foot area and is accented and crowned by hand-painted gold leaf on the sanctuary ceiling. The central mural is a reproduction of a painting hanging in a church in Rome called Santa Trinita del Pellegrini, a parish now run by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. The artist was Guido Reni, who created The Holy Trinity in the 17th century.
The public is invited to an Open House to visit the chapel on Sunday, September 27, at a come-and-go reception from 11:00 – 2:30 p.m. (during the St. Ann's Benefit Dinner next door)
The renovation of the 45-year-old structure began in October of 2008. After nearly six months of construction, the interior features hand-carved Italian statues of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and of St. Joseph and the Child Jesus from the Conrad Moroder Company, a red oak ambo, refurbished and encased stained glass windows, new monastic pews, and red oak frames for the Stations of the Cross.
Additional renovations include a covered metal roof, complete ceiling replacement, insulation of the ceiling and walls for energy efficiency, replacement of old windows and doors, porcelain tiling, a wheelchair-accessible Reconciliation Room, and a new sound system.
Regional Superior Sister Mary Ana Steele, OSF, said, “The renovation process was a remarkable endeavor! Not only did we learn more than we thought possible about construction and remodeling, but God brought us very special people of great integrity and workmanship to do each phase of the project. The Sisters worked with electricians, masons, painters, flooring specialists, contractors, subcontractors, and woodworkers, many of whom were not afraid to share their faith with us. Some had never worked inside a convent before or met a Sister. Any who began the work feeling a little out of place were calling us by name before long and enjoying coffee and fellowship during their breaks. As we watched the chapel taking shape, God revealed ideas and plans that we never thought of, so we are convinced that this chapel is His design, not ours. May this sacred space glorify Him and nurture our Sisters for generations to come!”
Special thanks to Greg Huseman of Huseman Builders, Inc., project manager, and Jake Woodman, project superintendant, who continuously went above and beyond what was necessary in time and service. Additional companies involved in the Chapel’s renovation include: Kelley Roofing LLC; Glass, Inc.; Spencer Glass; Casey Carpet One Floor and Home; Denman Building Products, Inc.; Jenkins Doors and Windows, Inc.; Damian’s Woodworks; Ivy Painting, LLC; Lyons Air Conditioning and Heating; Johnny B Electric Co.; A & E Design Group; Apex Technical Services; Norris Audio Video Systems, LP; and Steve Smith Masonry.
About the School Sisters of St. Francis
The Congregation of the School Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis was founded in 1723 near Salzburg, Austria. In 1931, the Sisters came to America and established themselves as working religious in seminaries, schools, and hospitals in several U.S. cities. In 1954, the Order was invited to and settled in the diocese of Amarillo, Texas where they are known as the “Panhandle Franciscans.”
The Sisters serve the Church according to the original charism of the foundress, Mother Hyacintha Zechner, in the Christian education of youth, with a passion to include the teaching of Pope John Paul’s Theology of the Body. In addition to education, youth ministry and faith formation, the School Sisters also serve the elderly at St. Ann’s Catholic Nursing Home and the priests who reside at St. Joseph’s Home for Retired Priests.
Donations and memorials are currently being accepted for the chapel. Items to be sponsored are still available at this time and will be permanently inscribed with the names of the donor(s) or in memory/honor of someone else. For more information, visit www.panhandlefranciscans.org. The mailing address of Sancta Maria Convent is P.O. Box 906, Panhandle, TX, 79068. E-mail can be sent to email@example.com, or you can call 806-537-3182. Dates to Remember:
• Sunday, Oct. 4: Our Lady of the Angels Chapel Open House from 12:30 – 3:00 p.m.
• Saturday, Dec. 12: School Sisters Fun-Raiser and Advent Gala to be held Dec. 12. More details to follow!
CONTACT: Monica Hildebrand