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December

Sacred Heart’s Chapel: Compassion Portrayed in Mosaic

News Story: December 10, 2019

Chapel of the Holy Spirit main mosaic

Any visitor to Sacred Heart’s Chapel of the Holy Spirit is struck by its artistry. There is symbolism everywhere you look, beautifully portraying spirituality, compassion and God’s love.

一道本不卡免费高清Look, for example, at the magnificent mosaic on the back wall. David Coppola, SHU’s senior vice president of administration and planning, recently called attention to a portion of it during an event marking the chapel’s 10th anniversary. He noted the placement of Jesus’ hand in relation to Eve. Jesus is pulling Eve up, toward his sacred heart, Coppola said—the ultimate sign of compassion and love. The scene expresses the joys, hopes, grief and anguish of people today.

“That’s what Sacred Heart does. We draw people to the heart of community, the heart of forgiveness, the heart of compassion,” he said.

Symbolism was a focus of one of two colloquia that honored the Chapel of the Holy Spirit as it marked its first decade. Titled “The SHU Curriculum in Stone, Art and Music,” it related to the College of Arts & Sciences, the Isabelle Farrington College of Education and the Jack Welch College of Business & Technology (WCBT). The other, “A Spirituality of Compassion,” pertained to the College of Health Professions and the Dr. Susan L. Davis, R.N., & Richard J. Henley College of Nursing.

“We are a church of compassion…We are a kind of community that cares about other people,” Coppola said during the colloquium for nursing and the health professions as he described the symbolism within the chapel’s structure. He indicated how the stone inside the building is outside as well, illustrating the intent that the joy and hope people feel inside the chapel will follow them as they leave.

一道本不卡免费高清Indicating the mosaic again, Coppola referred to a red circle in its top left corner that symbolizes the creation of light. The red is for passion and love, and it shows God’s desire to share His life with us, Coppola said.

一道本不卡免费高清The colloquia that explored the chapel’s connection with the WCBT, College of Arts & Sciences and Farrington College of Education brought representatives from each to share what the chapel means to them and how it impacts the students’ curriculum.

一道本不卡免费高清Brian Stiltner, professor of theology and religious studies, described the chapel as a “safe haven of hospitality” for students and staff. “Anyone is welcome at any time; whether it is to pray, to think, or simply to sit and enjoy the peaceful and uplifting atmosphere of the chapel,” he said.

一道本不卡免费高清Sacred Heart has a “long history of supporting inter-religious dialogue,” and even though it’s a Catholic university, it opens its arms to all people, Stiltner said. He concluded with the observation that “the liberal arts are an invitation to becoming a better person…they help us to go deep inside ourselves…to become more fully people for others.”

Enda McGovern, marketing professor, focused on the ideal of educating young men and women in business to maintain compassion. He quoted what President Barack Obama said in early November at United States Rep. Elijah Cummings funeral, “There’s nothing weak about looking out for others. There’s nothing weak about being honorable. You’re not a sucker to have integrity and to treat others with respect.”

一道本不卡免费高清Compassion should become more grounded in the world of business education, McGovern said.  And the business world has the opportunity to display that compassion by following on the pope’s teaching in emphasizing our “care of the common home,” delivered in Pope Francis’s 2015 Encyclical on the Environment and Human Ecology.

Darcy Ronan, an education professor in the Isabelle Farrington College of Education, said aspiring educators become contemplative, reflecting on their actions and decisions. Drawing a contrast between the quiet of the chapel and the constant action of a teacher’s day, Ronan encouraged educators to find moments for reflection. She told the audience that because educators make decisions constantly and quickly, they must develop their instincts through contemplation in order to responsibly fulfill their duty to students. 

“Contemplation is an opportunity to think slow,” she said. “To connect with our values, to see a situation differently and to resolve, at times, to pursue a different course of action.”

The chapel—with all that it symbolizes—is a place where students can reflect; it symbolizes compassion, resilience and careful thought. Everything that is taught within the chapel extends beyond the walls and into the classrooms. No matter the college, no matter the major, the chapel is in every curriculum at SHU.