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St. Joseph's Chapel

St. Joseph's Chapel re-opened in the spring of 2024! SJA held a re-dedication prayer service with Chapel supporters and  Le Puy Society and Celestine members. Thanks to the wonderful generosity of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and many members of the SJA community, we are able to provide an updated space for our students to practice and live their faith every day.

Our Foundresses

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, who founded St. Joseph’s Academy in 1840, were true pioneers. The sisters instilled in the school the Catholic values that today remain at the core of their mission, “to serve the dear neighbor without distinction.” From the move to the current Frontenac campus in 1955 to the 21st century programs and redesigned classrooms, the trailblazing spirit of the Sisters is still alive. The legacy and charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet is alive and vibrant in all aspects of life at the Academy. At SJA, girls are supported as they grow in faith, knowledge, and respect for self and others, ready to make a profound impact in the world.

History of the Chapel

The Chapel was completed between 1956-58. Located between the main school building and what is now the former convent, the Chapel
serves as the heart of the campus. The Chapel is embedded in the school’s history and serves as a cornerstone for the building. This was symbolically demonstrated as the physical cornerstone of the building was laid in a special ceremony on June 5, 1954 in the front, or east, wall of the Chapel.

This space was originally designed to be modern and airy, providing natural light during the day. Original seating capacity was 250. It included an organ with pipes concealed behind grilles in the wall over the main altar, a large bell tower, and 14 sliding stained glass panels that make up the north and south walls. These window panels open to provide ventilation, as no HVAC system was installed due to cost.

The large stained-glass window facing east, designed by Sr. Mary Ernestine Fuchs, CSJ, is divided into three sections to represent the Trinity. This stands as a beacon from the rear of the Chapel. The stylized design is typical of artwork from the 1950’s. The side sections depict the symbols and words of the litany of St. Joseph, while the center section represents the symbols of the Evangelists. The stained-glass windows in the front wall and in the sliding panels were manufactured and installed by Emil Frei Associates, a St. Louis company who was world renowned for its liturgical glass work.

Blossom on the Wing

Rachelle Gardner-Roe (b.1981)
Blossom On The Wing, 2024
Acrylic on laser-engraved wood

Blossom On The Wing is a visual synthesis of a calla lily and a wing, acknowledging symbolism inherent to St. Joseph's Academy. Laser-cut details of lacework reference the school's history and it commitment to the legacy and charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. It seemed fitting for the artist to blend this visual with a representation of the wing of an angel, the school's mascot. With layers of meaning, the feather-like petals of the wall sculpture gently guide the faithful into the Chapel, while expressing gratitude for those who helped make its renovation possible. By melding the three principles of history, symbolism, and innovation in both form and process, Blossom On The Wing celebrates the educational spirit of St. Joseph's Academy while honoring the generosity of its donors through a gesture of beauty. 

The Chapel serves as the heart of the school and the cornerstone of the campus. We are grateful for all contributors who provided support for the St. Joseph's Chapel renovation, the first since the original construction was completed. Recognized here are those who contributed at the Archangel Circle level, $1,000 and above.


The bell in the bell tower is a 265-pound pattern weight bell that was cast in Holland in the musical note F. While delivery from Europe would take ninety days, the I.T. Verdin Company of Cincinnati, who acquired and installed the bell, assured the Sisters that it would be worth the wait as it was “the best bell available today.” The bell was rung in 2015 for the first time in decades on the 175th anniversary of the school.

Many statues are placed throughout the Chapel, including the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Mary, St. Joseph, and a statue of St. Maria Goretti, the patron saint of young girls. The statue was commissioned of Italian sculptor Francis Mersa by a Sister of St. Joseph as a gift for the Chapel in memory of her own deceased sister.

Several Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet standing behind a SJA crest smiling and laughing.