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Peace and Beauty

Assembly at Chapel c.1950's Assembly at Chapel c.1950's
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Easter Altar, c. 1910 Easter Altar, c. 1910

The chapel was a peaceful escape from the outside world. The doors would close behind the visitors, and their thoughts would turn to their religion, and the great beauty of the setting. "It was really beautiful. Everybody was in there together. It always seemed to be sunny, there were always flowers, we always had music and we always sang. The atmosphere plus the people made it just right." (former student Catherine Graves {Manthorpe}) The white interior would glow when the afternoon sun passed through the stained glass windows, and beautiful flower arrangements, often picked from the Academy gardens, would be set up on the altar, which was covered with a gold cloth. Lois McGee, a day student during the 1950s, echoed the feeling of many former pupils, who chose the chapel as their favourite part of the Academy. It was "just the most beautiful place!"

The pupils coming to chapel would usually come down the stairs and through a short hallway from the classroom wing, moving in lines through the doors, which were flung wide open. It usually took a few minutes to settle everyone before prayer. Talking was discouraged, so the Sisters would signal the students by knocking their silver rings on the pews, one click to sit and two clicks to stand up. For much of the operation of the Academy, chapel visits were a regular part of the daily schedule. Morning Mass, before breakfast, was the start to a busy day. As time passed, attending chapel became less of a regular event, and many girls remember entering only for liturgical celebrations.

The original main altar and the two side altars were carved by Brother Michaud, for the cathedral, and became important as pieces of historical furniture, as well as significant religious focal points. The railing, which separated the main altar from the pews and the congregation, was made from local wood.