Forty-two Jewish cemeteries form the Baker Street Cemeteries in the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Each was historically owned and managed by a separate congregation or Jewish organization. Today many are cared for by the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts. Visiting hours for the cemeteries are posted at the main gate.
A series of small chapels line the narrow access road. Most are now closed to the public. A larger chapel at the main gate is open. It was built by the Congregation Beth El in 1930 according to plaques inside.
For more information: https://www.jcam.org/Pages/Cemeteries/Cemetery_Pages/Boston_WestRoxbury_BakerSt.htm
Created in 1996 through the merger of Beth Israel Hospital and New England Deaconess Hospital, the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has two chapels used regularly by families and staff.
On the West campus, the Arthur Dooley Chapel was built in 1956 when the hospital was New England Deaconess Hospital founded by Methodists. This chapel has all the trappings of a traditional Methodist church including floor to ceiling stained glass windows with quotes, an altar and an organ.
From the outside, this chapel looks like a small Methodist church connected to the hospital. A black and white photo of the chapel in earlier years hangs in one corner of the chapel: it shows the sanctuary filled with traditionally dressed nurses and nursing students.
Some of the pews were removed in recent years to create floor space where Muslims can pray. Information for Harvard Longwood Muslims is also available here, as are prayer rugs and a sign pointing in the direction of Mecca.
Mass takes place in this chapel on Sundays at noon and a meditation gathering, mostly for staff on Wednesdays. Additional services for memorials or as connected to public events are scheduled as needed. As in the chapel on the East campus, a black book is filled with prayers.
The Wolfson Chapel on the East campus, originally Beth Israel Hospital, was a Jewish focused chapel from the early years of the hospital. It was renovated into an inter-faith space several years ago to intentionally support families from a range of religious and spiritual backgrounds. Original stained glass panels by Emanuel Genovese remain, as do plaques naming early supporters of the chapel. A tabernacle holding communion wafers was added in a cabinet next to prayer rugs for Muslims as was a sign pointing towards Mecca.
Many hospital visitors, staff and patients stop into the centrally located Wolfson Chapel for a short visit. Visitors leave notes and prayers in a black book on the table in the chapel. Rather than removing all religious symbols when the space was renovated, the hospital’s Advisory Committee on Religious Diversity opted to add new ones to recognize the religious diversity of staff as well as patients and families.
“We made the decision to ‘lift up’ and celebrate our religious diversity, rather than aim for a purely neutral space,” explained Rev. Katie Rimer, Director of Spiritual Care and Education.
A meditation gathering takes place in the Wolfson Chapel on Wednesdays, attended by staff. Adjacent to the chapel today is the office of the Director of Spiritual Care and Education, a space previously used for bris ceremonies in the Jewish tradition in the former Beth Israel Hospital.
Both chapels strive, in the words of Director Rimer to be “spiritually and religiously welcoming. We have a wonderfully rich religious history, and we try to reflect that as best we can in both chapels.”
The chapels at Brandeis University were conceived in the 1950s as part of the university’s first master plan. When the chapels were commissioned in 1952, the New York firm of Harrison & Abramovitz was asked to design them in addition to several other campus buildings. Back and forth with the architects, administrators and students led to the three chapels – one for Jews, one for Catholics and one for Protestants.
Harlan Chapel, the Protestant chapel, was named in honor of the late Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan who cast the only dissenting vote in the historic Ferguson v. Plessy decision that established separate but equal.
Bethlehem Chapel, the Catholic chapel, was named by then Boston Archbishop Richard J. Cushing.
The Berlin Jewish chapel was donated by Boston surgeon Dr. David Berlin in honor of his parents.
Heralded at the time as representative of a multi-faith America and unity in the midst of diversity, the chapels still stand as they were built. Protestant, Catholic and Jewish services take place today in all of the chapels as well as in a range of classrooms and common areas across campus.
As campus demographics changed, a Muslim prayer space was created in another area of campus in 2004. It includes an Ablution Area as well as social space. More recently, a Dharmic prayer space for Buddhist, Hindu and Jain students was opened in what used to be a small campus art gallery. A prayer/ meditation alcove was also designed during a building renovation in one of the graduate schools on campus.
Campus Rabbi Elyse Winick reflects, "One could argue that sacred space is defined by the intention of its users, rather than the intention of its design. Yet the spare architectural details and simple decor of the three Chapels, along with other designated worship spaces on campus, direct your focus to heart of the experience: the soaring sound of voices raised in prayer."
For more information: https://www.brandeis.edu/studentlife/chaplaincy/
Members of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) opened Boston College in 1864 to educate the predominantly Irish Catholic immigrant community. The College has grown enormously since that time and today includes undergraduate and graduate students from a range of backgrounds in eight schools and Colleges. Chapels and other sacred sites dot the campus as part of the College’s commitment to care for community members academically, socially and spiritually. Chaplains, today called campus ministers, pay particular attention to the spiritual lives of students.
Catholic chapels remain across campus including St. Joseph’s Chapel in the basement of a first year residence hall. There since the 1970s, Mass takes place at 10pm Monday through Thursday and three Masses take place on Sunday led by Jesuit and diocesan priests. An image of Mary of Guadalupe inside the chapel signifies the diversity of Mass attendees. St. William’s Chapel at the School of Theology and Ministry (commonly called the STM Chapel) was built by the archdiocese in 1937 when the land on which it is located was owned by the archdiocese. Used primarily by graduate students, Catholic Mass takes place daily except on Thursdays and Byzantine liturgies are regularly held as well.
A multi-faith center was opened at 66 Commonwealth Ave, a sophomore residence hall, a number of years ago to make space for non-Catholic services. Episcopal mass, Muslim prayer, Buddhist gatherings, Jewish services, meditation groups and others gather in this space weekly. Many residence halls also include small reflection spaces where groups gather including regular CURA or Christian Life Communities. A labyrinth was built in 2003 as a memorial to the 22 Boston College alumni lost in the 9/11 tragedy. These spaces, like most buildings at Boston College, include some puddingstone in their construction in a way that aims to unify the campus architecturally.
For more information, see: http://www.bc.edu/offices/ministry.html
Founded in 1863, Boston College High, the Jesuit High School of Boston, aimed to combine college and secondary school in a seven-year program rooted in the teachings of St. Ignatius. In 1913 what we today know as Boston College relocated to its present site. The high school remained on Harrison Avenue in the South End until 1949 when construction began on the current campus on Morrissey Boulevard. Loyola Hall and the current chapel were built in 1957 to house the Jesuit community that served the school and to provide a place for religious gatherings.
Today Boston College High enrolls just over 1600 young men in grades 7 through 12. The Jesuits operated the chapel (note all the side altars for daily Masses) but it has now been given to the school for its use. The stained glass windows were designed and installed by Thomas J. Murphy studios of Boston and prominent feature symbols of the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit. The large window that completely fills the rear wall of the sanctuary is divided into seven vertical panels depicting symbols of the Eucharistic worship.
For more information, please see: https://www.bchigh.edu/home
Boston Medical Center was founded in 1996 through the merger of Boston City Hospital and Boston University Medical Center Hospital. Boston City was one of the oldest municipal hospitals in the country and BMC continues to serve some of the most vulnerable people in the city.
Chapels were present at Boston City Hospital in different ways. In 1950 the George Howard Monks Memorial Chapel was dedicated, designed by the architect Albert M. Kreider. Monks was a former chief of surgery at the hospital known for being a physician, friend and teacher at the hospital, and the chapel was intended for members of Protestant and Greek Orthodox faiths. Materials from the dedication suggest that in addition to being open daily, chaplains planned to hold Sunday morning services and week-day organ recitals in the chapel. There was also a synagogue, the Beth Isaac Memorial Chapel, at the hospital in the early 1950s constructed in memory of Rabbi Isaac & Rebecca Grossman. And historical photos suggest there was a mortuary chapel at the hospital before this time. At present, one chapel is a temporary location while a new one is being constructed. The second is more established with large stained glass windows, pews, and a regular schedule of services.
Started as a Methodist seminary in Vermont, what is today known as Boston University was chartered in 1869. The university today serves 33,000 students from around the world in 17 schools and colleges. There are multiple sacred spaces on campus including Marsh Chapel, the Catholic Center and the Hillel House.
Built in 1949, the gothic style Daniel L. Marsh Chapel sits at the center of the Charles River campus. Designed by Ralph Adams Cram, it was intended, from the start, to be a place of worship for all though was firmly rooted in the university’s Methodist tradition. Stained glass windows on the east side of the chapel represent Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Methodism and books from Protestant, Catholic and Jewish traditions were placed inside the chapel’s cornerstone before it was sealed. Dr. Robert Hill, the current Dean of Marsh Chapel, currently oversees 30 religious groups and seven university chaplains. He leads an interdenominational Protestants service in the chapel on Sunday mornings broadcast widely.
The Hillel House was built ten years ago for worship and community gatherings. It was specifically designed to be flexible and to allow the different denominations to operate respecting one another without yielding on the principles that make each unique. Three services take place each Friday night representing each of the major denominations in American Jewry: Reform, Conservative and Orthodox. At the end of prayer, students from all three services come together to sing “Shalom Alechem” (“Peace Unto You”), the traditional song welcoming the Sabbath.
For more information, please see: http://www.bu.edu/chapel/religion/
Initiated by Boston Archbishop Richard Cardinal Cushing in the early 1960s, the Catholic chapel at Bridgewater State University was intended to serve the large number of Catholic undergraduates attending the college at the time. Anticipating the growth of the college, Cushing responded to the appeal of Catholic faculty to create a chapel and education center. Without such facilities, Cushing said in a fundraising appeal, students “could spend years in the pursuit of secular knowledge and probably neglect their most important duty – ‘To Know Christ and to Live Christ.’” Funds to build the chapel came from a range of Catholic alumni, students, faculty and friends as well as the Newman Center on campus.
Designs for the chapel show a chapel seating area for 300 and a meeting room for 160 in addition to the sacristy, chaplain’s office, general office and library. Today the chapel is used for mass and a range of other Catholic gatherings.
For more information: https://services.bridgew.edu/Directory/search_dept.cfm?dept=36
Formed through a merger of the Boston Hospital for Women, the Robert Breck Brigham Hospital, and the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in 1980, Brigham and Women’s Hospital has had a chapel since it opened. Much of its history and vision came from the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital where William Leach, an Episcopal priest and full-time chaplain paid by the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts started a strong chaplaincy program that transferred to the new merged Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
William Leach helped create the chapel at the Brigham working with an interior designer and others on a design. The resulting chapel was on the first floor and intended to be welcoming for people from a wide range of spiritual and religious backgrounds. Some of the funds to build it may have came from the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The hospital also received a large donation for the chapel from Roger Cutler, a former director of development for the PBBH hospital and hospital trustee. This first chapel in the BWH was named the Elizabeth Louise Dieterich Cutler Memorial Chapel after Roger Cutler’s late wife (1921-1971). It was publicly dedicated in October 1981 and consecrated in December 1981 by Bishop Lawrence. Before construction was complete, the first service was held in the chapel amidst bare walls, concrete floors, and stark lighting to bless the distribution of bibles donated for all patient beds by the Gideon Society.
The chapel was renovated several years later and then again in 2000 when it was moved to its current location. Stained glass windows from the first two chapels were moved to the current the chapel. Additional stained glass windows inside the chapel titled “Compassionate Souls” were designed by Kristin Mackay and dedicated in 2004 in memory of long time BWH nurse Lisa Marie Groebl. A sign and map were added indicating that Muslim prayer services take place on Fridays in a nearby building. A closet next to the chapel houses a tabernacle or space where the items required for communion in the Catholic and Episcopal traditions.
The chapel is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the chaplains host regular inter-faith services at noon. The chapel space is also used for family meetings and memorial services as needed.
Entering the military chapel at Camp Edwards is a little like stepping into a time capsule. The classically utilitarian structure was erected in the 1930’s and served a generation of GI’s as the last stateside respite before deploying to the European theater during the Second World War.
Dark knotty pine wainscoting lines the walls throughout the building, and rows of long rustic benches act as pews in the sun-drenched main prayer space. Vintage black and white photographs of the base and a poster commemorating the flag raising on Iwo Jima greet a visitor in the small vestibule. A crucifix rests in a shaft of light on a desk in a small office to one side.
In keeping with its current mission as an interfaith chapel, there is little traditional religious iconography in evidence, although the Stations of the Cross are still in place. Guidons commemorate nineteenth and twentieth century battles in which the 101st Field Artillery Regiment fought, from Gettysburg to The Ardennes-Alsace. A battalion banner and a flag presented to the regiment by the French resistance in World War II are prominently displayed on the back wall.
Today, the Chapel serves the spiritual needs of Massachusetts National Guard units during annual training and drill weekends. It is used less frequently than in earlier years, as it is more common for Chaplains to hold services for troops in the field.
For more information: http://www.thenationsfirst.org/JBCC/index.html
Initiated by nurses when the hospital was expanding in the 1950s, the chapel at Children’s Hospital in Boston offers quiet respite. Catholic mass, Sabbath candle lightings, Buddhist meditation, Muslim prayers five times a day, and other gatherings are held regularly in the space. More frequently patients, families, and staff stop in for quiet prayer, meditation or just a place away from the busyness of hospital routines - perhaps invited by a sign over the door that reads, “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Visitors are welcomed to the chapel by images of worshippers and sacred places from a range of religious traditions in the hallway just outside.
“In many ways, the hospitality and use of the chapel is indicative of our changing patient and staff populations, and our commitment to respectful interfaith relationships,” explained director Mary Robinson, a board certified chaplain and ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. The space is quiet even as a patients, family members and visitors regularly pass through.
The chapel itself has changed over time from a traditional Judeo-Christian space to one that aims to welcome people from a range of religious backgrounds. When Robinson, the current Director of Chaplaincy, first visited the chapel in 1990 it was primarily a Christian space with Roman Catholic imagery behind the altar. In 1991 she helped transition it to a multi-faith space. The crucifix was removed and replaced with a commissioned screen without religious imagery and acceptable to Muslims (it had no animals or people on it). The use of the chapel by Jews, Muslims and Buddhists increased following these changes. Years later different religious symbols were connected to a pulley system at the front of the chapel and moved into place depending on who was using the space. Today there are few permanent religious symbols in the chapel but many that can be moved in and out as needed. Tabernacles holding communion for Catholic and Protestant visitors are in one area while Muslim prayer rugs and books from multiple religious traditions are in another.
A stained glass window depicting a nurse and child has been present from the start- donated in by a family whose son died at the hospital in 1955– and pews in the space came from the House of the Good Samaritan, a hospital that cared for poor children in Boston for one hundred years before merging with Children’s. About fifteen people leave prayers in the prayer box each day. Prayers are increasingly from people who are spiritual but not religious and not connected to religious congregations.
For more information: http://www.childrenshospital.org/patient-resources/family-resources/chaplaincy
Located next to a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in the Westgate Mall, the Chapel of Our Savior is a free-standing building dedicated on October 30, 1961. In 1960, Boston Archbishop Richard Cardinal Cushing invited the Society of the Atonement to send some Friars to create a chapel and information center on the South Shore. Father Jerome Gallagher S.A. located the site for the chapel at the new Westgate Shopping Center at the intersection of Routes 24 and 27 and building proceeded at a quick pace.
The Friars have used the facility for the past fifty years to support local parishes and provide the sacraments, educational classes and personal counseling. Today mass is celebrated at 12:05pm and 5:30pm daily. Confessions are heard before mass and many come to practice devotions. A Gift Shop was added in recent years.
For more information, please see: http://chapelofoursaviorbrockton.org/index.html
Cushing Memorial Chapel was built in 1943-44 as part of the Cushing General Hospital complex dedicated to caring for soldiers wounded in World War II. Its namesake, Dr. Harvey W. Cushing, was a famed neurosurgeon and World War I Army surgeon.
After the war, Cushing General Hospital became Cushing Veterans Hospital (1946-1955), and eventually Cushing State Hospital (1955-1991). The hospital buildings evolved and changed over the years, but after their demolition in the early 1990’s, the chapel was one of the only original structures left behind.
A vestige of the hospital remains, however. A tunnel provided safe access to patients and other visitors wishing to travel between the two buildings, and an outline on an exterior brick wall shows where they were once connected. Folding chairs now occupy a large empty space behind the last row of pews that could accommodate wheelchairs, gurneys or stretchers.
Now owned by the town of Framingham, the chapel was renovated and re-dedicated in 1999 by town officials Kenneth J. Wilkinson and Gregg Adams. It seats as many as 300 in the main sanctuary and balcony, and today is used primarily for weddings, funerals, and veterans and civic events. Pews donated by the Rotary Club, Framingham Order of Eagles, local high schools, the Nursing Service of the Hospital and local congregations remain as do the original prominent stained glass windows. Numerous plaques and memorials honoring veterans are housed in the chapel lobby along with an original bible from 1944.
A short walk into Cushing Park brings a visitor to a series of granite markers memorializing the hospital. They were placed by the Framingham Veterans Council in 2005 and include the lines “”Freedom is not free” and “only the chapel remains.” Further along the main path is a memorial grove and gazebo dedicated to the seventeen Framingham residents killed during the 9/11 attacks.
Additional information: http://www.framinghamma.gov/1055/Cushing-Chapel
The Dana Farber Cancer Institute built its first Prayer and Meditation Room on an inpatient floor in 1990 and its full chapel in 1995. A small silver sign next to this chapel read, “The patients, families, staff and trustees of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute recognize the dreams of the many supporters of this chapel, the inspiration of Jeffrey R. Forbes, and the dedication of the Friends of Dana Farber Cancer Institute in helping to being this vision to fulfillment. October 1995.” Planners decided not to name this chapel in an effort to make it as inclusive as possible.
Large stained glass panels designed by Robert Frei of the Frei Studio in St. Louis, MO coincidentally connected to former Chief of Medicine Tom (Emil) Frei. This first chapel was moved in 2011 to the current location in Dana-Farber’s new clinical care center. Vertical patterns in the stained glass are intended to represent water, air, fire and the like. Closely resembling the first chapel, the current sanctuary contains a range of religious objects in drawers and space for quiet prayer and meditation. The office of the chaplain is just outside of the chapel and sponsors centering prayer gatherings and a range of spirituality discussions and support groups.
The Stoneman Healing Garden was also opened in the Yawkey Cancer Care Center in 2011. This 2000 square foot indoor garden, designed by landscape architects CRJA-IBI Group, provides a quiet place of respite for patients, families and staff members alike. The Morse Conservatory provides an enclosed space overlooking the Garden for immunocompromised patients.
The Center for Spiritual Life (CSL) at Emerson College is an inclusive, multi-faith hub for religious and spiritual programming, support, and education for the Emerson community. Our student organizations include Emerson Awake (Buddhist), Emerson Christian Fellowship (ecumenical), Emerson Hillel (Jewish), and Newman Club (Catholic). Signature programs include eMINDFUL guided meditations and Practice & Leader Trainings, monthly CSL Cafes engaging in a spiritual practice or meaning-making activity, and weekly campus-wide Circle Up gatherings to share hopes and concerns.
The Reflection Room is a central programming space for Emerson's CSL, and hosts activities including weekly guided meditations, Stations of the Cross, yoga, praise and worship, and restorative justice circles. The space can be requested through CSL by Emerson community members for their own spiritual and religious purposes.
Morning and noon prayers take place on weekdays at the St. John’s Memorial Chapel on the campus of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. Longer services take place on Mondays and Thursdays that, like all of the gatherings, are open to those at EDS and in the broader community.
The chapel was built when EDS was the Episcopal Theological School and original Board member Robert Means Mason donated funds to build a chapel in donor of his life, brother and other family members. The cornerstone was laid on June 24, 1868 and the chapel was consecrated just over a year later. It was the first building constructed specifically for use by the school and was designed by the architectural firm of Ware and Van Brunt. Two major renovations have taken place since the chapel was built first in 1930 and again in 1966-67.
For more information please see: http://www.eds.edu/sites/default/files/historyandguide_stjohnschapel.pdf
The chapel in the Erich Lindemann Mental Health Center was added late in the planning process. Designed by architect Paul Rudolph as a progressive mental health center and opened in 1971, the building forms part of the unfinished Government Service Center (1962-71). The chapel space, which includes a balcony and seating area that are not internally connected, is sculpted from curved wall surfaces made of Rudolph's signature cast concrete, yet there is a veil-like delicacy to the wall surface that makes it unlike the rest of the building. The chapel was intended as a private, meditative space in the center of a monumental modern building, set on a busy public square in a rapidly growing city.
Located next to what were originally inpatient areas, the chapel used to be open as a quiet respite for patients, staff and visitors. Services took place regularly. A cross still hangs over the altar and an area where a priest or service leader can change clothes is off to the side. Kneelers throughout suggest Christian assumptions in the design, and a small alcove in the rear of the space might have been designed or used for confessions. Natural light filters through the skylight over the altar, while indirect artificial lighting behind the altar contributes to the spiritual atmosphere.
In 2009 patients who had been cared for at the Lindemann building and used the chapel moved to the Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center. Today the chapel is locked, accessible only during occasional services led by a volunteer staff member in the building. A sign near the elevator reads, “Worship Services, Every Saturday and Sunday. Time 3:30-4:30pm. Location 4th Floor. Job 3:16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him should now perish but have everlasting life.’ TELL A FRIEND TO TELL A FRIEND. COME AND BE BLESSED.” Memorial services also take place occasionally in the space.
“This is a lovely peaceful space,” said Michele Anzaldi, the site director, when we visited. “I wish we could use it more. Perhaps once funds are available to fix the water leakage this will be possible.”
See also historian Tim Rohan's article in the Boston Globe (September 7, 2014).
The Fireman’s Lot at Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain was purchased in 1857 by the Charitable Association of the Boston Fire Department (founded in 1828). It provides a burial place for deceased members of the Boston Fire Department. Memorial services are held there every year on the second Sunday in June. The monument at the center of the lot was built in 1909 and is believed to be modeled on a firefighter named Cosgrove.
For more information see: http://www.cityofboston.gov/fire/memorial/firemans_lot.htm
A small rectangular room off a main corridor houses the chapel at Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Brighton. Founded by Cardinal Richard J. Cushing and the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary with financial assistance from many benefactors, the hospital opened in 1949 to provide convalescent and later out-patient care for medically complex children. Today the hospital provides in and out-patient care as well as an educational facility for disabled children, a pediatric dental clinical, a rehabilitation program, psychiatric services, and a medical day care. It is Franciscan Hospital, many in the city say, that cares for children no other healthcare facilities want.
The hospital’s Catholic founding is currently evident in the chapel’s Christian art and symbols. Chaplaincy Director Steve Murphy says these will likely soon be removed in an effort to make the space more inclusive. Muslim prayer rugs and texts sit on a shelf behind the door. A prayer request book (not a Bible) currently sits on a small altar at the front of the room. Visitors are invited to share their own thoughts or prayers in the book as they pass through. The Catholic Eucharist is housed in the tabernacle and available on request, often from staff members also trained as Eucharistic ministers through their parishes.
The space moved to its current location from a large traditional Catholic chapel years ago, and Murphy hopes the chapel in a new building (currently being designed) will be larger, more beautiful, and accommodating of the facility's many pediatric visitors who come to outpatient appointments in wheelchairs. Catholic Mass takes place in this space on Mondays during the academic year and an interfaith prayer service on Thursdays.
For more information: http://franciscanchildrens.org/resources/support-services/chaplaincy/
Located on Hanscom Airforce Base in Bedford, MA, the Base Chapel hosts a range of gatherings for Catholics, Protestants and Muslims. Catholic mass takes place twice during the week and on weekends and additional Catholic gatherings take place regularly. Protestant services are held on Sunday mornings with groups for women, men and families held throughout the week. A space for Muslim prayers in available in the vicinity of the chapel.
Additional information about the chapel and its programs can be found here: http://www.hanscom.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/379460/base-chapel/
The MBA Class of 1959 Chapel at the Harvard Business School was a gift to the School from the Class of 1959. While the school was founded in 1908 as the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and the current campus was constructed in 1924, there was no chapel until 1992 when this chapel opened.
Designed by prominent architect Moshe Safdie and Associates, this non-denominational chapel includes a cylindrical main building clad in green patinated, and adjacent glass pyramid as well as a “sun clock” tower outside designed by German artist Karl Schlamminger. A chamber organ designed by Taylor & Boody Organbuilders was added to the chapel in 1997.
Quiet and peaceful, the chapel is filled with natural light; water streams through the lush indoor garden adjacent to the sanctuary itself. The building is open Monday through Friday as a place of respite for students, faculty and staff – there are no scheduled services. Weddings, memorial services and musical performances take place in the chapel on occasion, but it functions primarily as a place for meditation and quiet reflection on the busy Harvard campus. In 2015, a 900sf sedum green roof was installed on the building.
Funds for the chapel were donated by the Class of 1959 at their 25th and 30th reunions in honor of their classmate Harvard Dean John H. McArthur who had proposed that a chapel on campus would enhance community. As the inscription on the wall of the chapel explains, the purpose of this spiritual site is to “make our community complete and remind us of our higher purpose and ideals.”
For more information: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2014/04/hidden-spaces-the-class-of-1959-chapel-at-hbs/
Andover Chapel, the largest sacred space on the HDS campus, was dedicated as a Protestant Church in 1911 when the Andover Hall building was constructed. Today, flexible seating has replaced the original fixed pews, and the traditional altar has been re-purposed with areas set aside for meditation, Muslim prayer, and others forms of worship. A sign at the door proclaims “Welcome to all” and urges visitors to “Please feel free to use the chapel as a place of refuge for prayer, meditation, and rest.” An almost dizzying range of gatherings occur in the chapel during the academic year for all members of the community.
In 2007, a labyrinth was constructed in the courtyard behind Andover Hall. Quietly blending with the landscape, it is accessible to all for meditation, contemplation and walking. “It was a way to establish in stone the power of pilgrimage and contemplation in a place devoted to the study of religion.” explains Director of Spiritual Life and Harvard Divinity School Chaplain Kerry Maloney.
A short walk brings a visitor to Divinity Hall, the first Harvard University building situated outside of Harvard Yard. Updated a number of times over the years, the building has served as everything from classroom to dormitory space. Divinity Hall Chapel was the heart of the Divinity School in the early years and was the site of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous 1838 Divinity School Address. The Chapel was renovated by architect A.W. Longfellow, Jr. in 1904 and has been carefully preserved. In 2010, the original pews were removed and replaced by flexible seating to accommodate academic and religious gatherings as well as private functions held in the room.
Built in the late 1950s, The Center for the Study of World Religions is located directly across Francis Avenue from Andover Hall. To assure accessibility, a small meditation room located on the first floor replaces the original space at the top of the building. This room provides an area for meditation, prayer, reflection, and quiet reading for the entire HDS community. Quotes from many traditions emphasizing the importance of meditation line one wall. A small sign thanks a visitor “for bringing your presence and stillness into this space”, and a courtyard garden enhances the contemplative atmosphere of the meditation room.
While these four facilities formally represent sacred spaces at Harvard Divinity School, “everywhere is holy” as far as Chaplain Maloney is concerned.
For more information: http://hds.harvard.edu/life-at-hds/religious-and-spiritual-life
The Roslindale campus of Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL) was built in 1965 to replace the original Moshav Zekenim, built in 1903 in Dorchester. It is one of seven campuses where 2600 employees care for 3000 seniors every day. Several of HSL's facilities have formal sacred spaces including this synagogue at the Roslindale campus. Located on the eastern end of the campus, the synagogue was built in 1965 and has been renovated and changed in a number of ways since that time.
The original 80 by 80 foot space, including a 60 by 60 foot sanctuary, included also a Memorial Hall, candelabra room, family room and chaplain’s office. The triangular shaped sanctuary was designed with 18 foot high coffered ceilings, entered via a pair of wooden paneled doors. The bima, originally raised and approached by stairs and a ramp, is located in the Northeast corner of the sanctuary below a skylight which brings light in over the Ark, pulpit and lectern. Tall panels of stained glass are located at three corners of the space.
The synagogue was renovated about ten years ago. At that time, the pews and raised bima were removed to make the room more accessible to residents in wheelchairs and to allow the space to be used in more creative and diverse ways. In January of 2010 after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the eastern wall was converted to a prayer wall where staff and residents could commemorate those who had died by writing their names or messages of hope on large sheets of paper. The chapel thus became a place where members of the HSL community could pray for those who were missing or injured, or reach out to those whose families had been affected by the disaster. To memorialize this time and the community's many losses, in 2011 HSL commissioned an artist to design a small space inside the synagogue , providing a unique space for prayer and reflection used intensively by staff and caretakers at the facility.
Today the synagogue is in constant use, visited daily by residents, staff and family members. Services take place regularly: there are weekly Shabbat morning services as well as holiday services, and on Fridays a Shabbat sing-along is followed by the traditional service. Staff, family members, residents and patients use the space throughout the day for quiet prayer and meditation. It is also used for classes, memorials, community meetings, and educational programs. Two walls are covered with memorial yahrzeit lights which are lit daily in commemoration. Concerts take place weekly as do occasional interfaith services.
For more information, please see: http://www.hebrewseniorlife.org/spiritual-care
The chapel at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, or Fenway Court as it was known during Gardner’s lifetime, was designed when the building was constructed in the early 1900s. The chapel was a private space while Gardner was living. An upholstered folding screen-- currently tucked to the left as visitors enter the chapel from the adjacent Long Gallery -- was used to block off the chapel space during public visiting hours. The Chapel and the Gothic Room were opened to the public after Gardner's death in 1924.
The focal point of the chapel is a twelve-foot high stained glass window “Scenes from the Lives of Saint Nicasius and Saint Eutropia,” created in France in the early thirteenth century. Additional information about the items in the chapel are described on the Museum’s website.
Gardner attended Grace Episcopal Church in New York City when she was a childIn 1872, Gardner switched her allegiance to the Anglo-Catholic, Church of the Advent in Boston where she commissioned an elaborate high altar screen. She was also committed to a monastic order, the Society of St. John the Evangelist, where she was a generous benefactor. She was opened minded and liked to learn about a range of ideas including Transcendentalism and Buddhism.
Isabella Gardner directed in her will that a memorial service take place in the Chapel at the museum each year on her birthday, April 14. The service was to be conducted by the Society of St. John the Evangelist, otherwise known as the Cowley Fathers. This service has taken place each year since Mrs. Gardner's death.
Founded in 1995 by a group of dedicated parents, JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School was the first Jewish pluralistic day school in the greater Boston area. It currently serves children from kindergarten through eighth grade. The school views pluralism as “more than the existence of diversity….an active posture, a point of view that shapes how we attempt to build and foster Jewish community, and how we understand and seek to engage with and improve the world around us.”
When JCDS moved to its current location in 2002, a synagogue/sanctuary or “Beit Knesset” (House of Gathering) was designed for purpose of prayer. Mostly used by Middle School students for communal prayer, the space is open and frequented by many each day. Musical activities and smaller prayer gatherings take place there regularly as do in-school Bar and Bat Mitzvahs for each student. Occasionally, community members use the space for life cycle rituals such as the naming of a baby.
Religious life at JCDS is guided by a team who represent the diversity of the community. There are about 20 students in each grade and each year each grade marks a Judaic studies milestone that is celebrated in this space. Folding doors on one side can be opened for larger gatherings.
For more information, see: https://www.jcdsboston.org/
The original chapel at the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, a public health teaching hospital in Boston, seated 200 people and had a rotating stage or “lazy susan” podium that held symbols and icons required for Catholic, Jewish and Protestant worship. Used often by staff, this chapel was closed a few years ago and divided to create space for a methadone treatment facility.
A new, much smaller, chapel was built by the hospital’s main entrance. “The chapel/meditation room,” a sign by the door reads, “is open for prayer, meditation, reflection or quiet time.” An interfaith service takes place on Sundays that is attended mostly by patients, and Bible study happens in the chapel on Mondays. Objects from a range of religious traditions fill the room and plaques honoring two beloved, now deceased, volunteers hang on the wall. Prayers and texts from a range of traditions are available and written prayer requests are readily received. The altar was moved here after being in two other state hospitals, both of which closed.
Rev. James Gannon leads the chaplaincy department and also works as a patient care advocate in the hospital. Assisted by volunteers and occasionally students, Rev. Gannon cares for patients who receive services in this 225 bed public hospital through the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Some are in drug treatment programs, others are in the correctional unit and others have few resources and are transferred here from other facilities. Ordained by the United Church of Christ, Rev. Gannon has training in social work and is, as their brochure states, “a presence in time of trouble, a ministry of hope and healing.”
For more information: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/hospitals/shattuck/
The Chapel at Massachusetts General Hospital is just over 75 years old while the Ulfelder Healing Garden in the Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care recently celebrated its tenth birthday. Together with a Muslim prayer room located nearby, these only slightly hidden spaces create opportunities for patients, staff and visitors passing through the hospital to sit down and reflect.
Since it first opened to the hospital community on April 25, 1941, the Chapel has been open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It was created, in large part, through the work of Rt. Rev. William Lawrence, retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, who in the late 1930s sent more than 1500 letters to friends of the hospital asking for support to build it. In 1991 the Gothic Revival Chapel moved from its first location in the Baker Building to where it sits today in the Ellison Building, in almost identical form, near the hospital gift shop and flower store.
Changes to the space over the years have been few. The original record player was replaced by an electronic organ, and later, a Steinway grand piano. A hanging was added behind the stone altar table. The lighting was improved and flowers were maintained. An early cross was replaced by symbols from multiple religious traditions that are stored and moved into the chapel as needed..
Intended as an inclusive space, welcoming to all, the words “Whoever will may enter here” greet visitors as they pass from the entryway into the chapel space. Prayer services are held daily, Jewish Pre-Shabbat Services and Catholic Mass weekly, and Hindu services and Buddhist meditation monthly. Memorial services for staff members take place regularly as do chaplaincy student graduations and gatherings in response to local and national events. Stained glass windows created by Charles Connick and Associates of Boston adorn the space, which has long been cared for by the Chapel Committee and the Ladies Visiting Committee.
“This is the MGH’s common room where all people are equal in sharing a common humanity,” said Rev. John W. Polk, MDiv, BCC, director of MGH Chaplaincy at a gathering in honor of the chapel’s 75th anniversary. “To those seeking peace, quiet, relief, solace, hope or grace – here we are all one. That is the miracle of this space. Though we may look or speak differently, here we seek the same thing.”
A Muslim prayer room, opened in 1999 at the request of Muslim staff, sits just next to the chapel. Friday prayers are held in a larger conference room nearby. A mihrab or special niche that indicates the direction of Mecca was added in 2005. Verses from the Koran in English and Arabic hang in the Muslim prayer room used by male and female staff and visitors throughout the day. And the 6300 square foot Ulfelder Healing Garden was created by Halvorson Landscape Design in 2005 - with views of Cambridge and Boston - to offer respite particularly for Cancer Center patients, families and staff.
For more information: http://www.mghpcs.org/chaplaincy/
Named MCI-Concord in 1980, correctional centers in the same Concord location date to the late nineteenth century. The Massachusetts Reformatory at Concord, the Northeastern Correctional Center and others are part of the history of MCI-Concord which was a receiving facility for new inmates as late as 2009. Today MCI-Concord holds 700 inmates in a medium security context.
Constructed in the 1970s, a sunken building housing the chapels sits at the center of the facility. A Catholic chapel, Protestant chapel and Muslim prayer room are inside staffed by full and part-time chaplains from Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Jewish backgrounds. Services take place in each chapel or meditation room daily including regular bilingual services and/or services for Spanish speakers. Regular education programs are also a part of the offerings. A statue of Mother Theresa stands inside the Catholic chapel brought at the request of inmates.
For more information see: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/law-enforce-and-cj/prisons/doc-facilities/mci-concord.html
Currently the oldest female correctional institution in operation in the United States, MCI-Framingham houses women in a medium security context. It functions today as a jail, house of corrections and prison and is one of few facilities in the state for women.
First opened in 1877 as the Sherborn Reformatory for Women, the prison was founded during an age of social reform to protect female inmates from men. Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, briefly served as the prison’s superintendent in the late nineteenth century.
A large chapel on the third floor of the original administrative building is used for Protestant and Catholic services as well as a wide range of educational and social service programs every week. In addition to religious education and worship services, graduations, speakers and other events take place in the space.
In the 1930s, two large murals were painted on the walls of this chapel by artists Charlotte Scott and Lincoln Levinson. Both were supported by the Public Works Administration. “Prison wall murals teach dignity of work and play,” the Boston Globe headline read at the time, crediting superintendent Dr. Miriam Van Waters with the idea. Before the murals were painted, Professor Francis B. Sayre of Harvard University donated two stained glass windows to counter the barrenness of the space in memory of his wife Jessie Wilson Sayre, daughter of Woodrow Wilson. The murals have been painted over while the stained glass windows remain today.
A smaller chapel on the ground floor is also used regularly for prayer gatherings, mentoring and a range of other programs. Two full time chaplains, one Protestant and one Catholic, are responsible for all religious programming for inmates who also women who identify as Buddhist, Wiccan, Muslim, Jewish and with a range of other spiritual and religious traditions.
For more information:
Founded by sociologist and penologist Howard Belding Gill in 1927 as the first “community-based” prison in the country, MCI-Norfolk today houses 1500 men in a medium security context. The largest prison in the state, the facility includes eighteen dormitory-style living units with a range of other buildings that include the Community Services Division (CSD). Built as part of the original plan for the prison, the CSD today includes a synagogue, Muslim prayer space, chapel for Christian worship, and auditorium. A Native American sweat lodge is located in another part of the facility.
Chaplains offer counseling and a range of religious services at MCI-Norfolk with the support of a large number of volunteers. Inmates identify with religious traditions ranging from Protestant, Catholic and Jewish to Quaker, Rastafarian, Wiccan, Native American traditions, Scientology, Buddhism and others. Inmates may visit religious and spiritual spaces during designated times.
A small room designated as a synagogue can seat 10 to 15 people and holds a Torah in an Arc. A Christian chapel called “Bethany” hosts at least two services in different religious traditions each day. And the Muslim prayer room is used regularly. The Native American Sweat Lodge was built about 20 years ago and is used regularly for ceremonies under the guidance of a Native American chief volunteer and appropriate MCI staff. Trees near the lodge are labeled “truth,” “love,” and “transition.”
For more information: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/law-enforce-and-cj/prisons/doc-facilities/mci-norfolk.html
Founded in 1861, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) did not have a chapel until 1955. Designed by prominent architect Eero Saarinen and paired with his famous Kresge Auditorium nearby, the chapel was designed to meet the religious and spiritual needs of everyone on the MIT campus. The interdenominational chapel, which holds just over 100 people, was intended for small services, individual meditation and prayer, while the large (4000 seat) Kresge Auditorium was built to accommodate community gatherings, musical events, and lectures that celebrate the human spirit through the arts and humanities.
Designed as a brick cylinder that recalls Byzantine churches like San Vitale in Ravenna, the chapel is entered through a stained glass walkway. The sanctuary itself has just one window, a domed skylight, through which light spills onto an altar, platform and metal screen created by mid-century sculptor (and Saarinen friend) Harry Bertoia. An organ with more than 750 pipes is inside the chapel, and an inscription just outside the main door reads, “This building gives embodiment to the responsibility of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to maintain an atmosphere of religious freedom wherein students may deepen their understanding of their own spiritual heritage, freely pursue their own religious interests, and worship God in their own way. Dedicated May 1955.” The spire and bell tower (with a bell fabricated in the MIT foundry) are the work of Theodore Roszak.
Recently renovated, the MIT chapel is open from 7am to 11pm and hosts gatherings that range from Catholic mass to multiple Protestants services to Shabbat services and small-group or individual meditation. MIT chaplains from a range of backgrounds support student groups in these gatherings.
For more information: http://studentlife.mit.edu/cac/event-services-spaces/event-spaces/mit-chapel
The first chapel at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Bigelow Chapel, was designed in the 1840s in classic Gothic Revival Style. Architect Jacob Bigelow designed the chapel, the only entry in the design competition that included stained glass. The original stained glass windows, designed by Allan and Ballantyne, were imported from Edinburgh, Scotland in 1845. The chapel was rebuilt in the 1850s and the interior renovated by Willard Sears in 1899 to create a crematory. A new addition was built in 1970 to house a new crematory which enabled the chapel and crematory to function entirely separately.
Today the chapel can accommodate 75 guests in rows of wooden seats. Memorial services as well as arts programs and public events take place inside the chapel and in the surrounding gardens.
For more information: http://mountauburn.org/2011/bigelow-chapel/
Founded in 1831, Mount Auburn Cemetery combines space for burial and commemoration with appreciation for the natural world. The Story Chapel was built between 1896 and 98 as a non-denominational chapel just adjacent to the Cemetery’s Egyptian Revival Gateway. The cemetery needed a second chapel and the design was selected in a competition. Story Chapel’s architect, Willard T. Sears, intended for it to resemble an English parish church. Wood dominates the interior, with carved beams overhead, pews, and a historic pulpit.
Originally called “New Chapel,” the chapel was later named for Justice Joseph Story, the first President of the Cemetery and one of its founders. In 1929 architects Allen and Collens supervised the installation of stained glass in the nave and chancel of the chapel. The work was created and signed by Earl E. Sanborn, a local glass artist, and features traditional Christian imagery. It was built of Potsdam sandstone, chosen for its richness and variegation of color, with yellow bricks used in the interior. The chapel also houses a historic Hook & Hastings organ.
Story Chapel can comfortably seat 175 and has space for additional seating. It is air conditioned and fully handicapped accessible. Today the Chapel is used for memorial services, public programs, and houses the Cemetery’s Visitors Center.
For more information: http://mountauburn.org/2011/story-chapel/
A vibrant senior living community, Newbridge on the Charles opened in 2009 on 162 wooded acres in Dedham. One campus of Hebrew Senior Life, the community offers a variety of living options combined with rich cultural events and multiple healthcare options. The interfaith chapel and synagogue were designed and built with the facility.
The interfaith chapel is located on the bridge between the long-term care and independent living communities. Designed by artist Beverly Sky in collaboration with the architectural firm of Perkins Eastman, crystals hang from the ceiling to create the appearance of a reflection pool. Almost a mirror in the sky, the crystals invokes images of water as a blessing and of God’s nurturing of the earth. The chapel is available for residents and staff of all backgrounds and traditions for private reflection. It is also used for a weekly Talmud study class, small memorialsand shivas, a weekly prayer service, and other gatherings.
A synagogue was also designed with a partition wall linking it to the larger Great Meadow Hall. Artist and sculptor Mario Kon designed and built the Ark and reading table together with Beverly Sky who also created with Perkins Eastman the lighting and room design. When being used as a synagogue, the Ark is opened and Friday evening services, holiday services and other gatherings happen in the space, sometimes extending into the full hall, depending on the size. At other times the Ark is closed and, the space is used for other functions.
For more information, please see: http://www.hebrewseniorlife.org/spiritual-care
Newbury Court, one of the Deaconess Abundant Life Communities, provides health, housing and wellness services for people as they age. Founded in 1889 as part of the New England Deaconess Association, Newbury Court and other Abundant Life Communities in the greater Boston area provide a range of accommodations and services.
Before the Duvall Chapel was built in the late 1960s at the Concord campus, religious services were held in a parlor of the Deaconess House. The chapel itself was completed in 1969 and named for Rev. William H. Duvall, the Executive Director of the New England Deaconess Association from 1959-1972. The stained glass windows, marble altar and stone baptistery were brought from First Methodist Church in Lynn which was being demolished. The Lynn Church and many other Methodist Churches in the greater Boston area had been involved with Deaconess movement from the beginning including care and support for the Concord campus.
An ecumenical Christian worship service takes place in the chapel on Sundays at 11am for all residents and friends. Members of the community sing in the chapel’s choir. A Catholic communion service is also held on Sunday mornings. Memorial services take place regularly and community groups use the space. Rev. Lilian Warner, Spiritual Director / Chaplain and Sarah Hathaway, Associate Chaplain, provide ongoing spiritual support to community members. “Spiritual wellbeing has been at the core of the New England Deaconess mission from its beginning,” their brochure reads, “Our care and concern for older adults reaches beyond physical and emotional issues to the eternal significance and worth of everyone.” The chapel recently had a much needed facelift with new rugs, new shades, and the installation of a Hearing Loop system that allows visitors with hearing aids to better hear activities in the chapel.
For more information please see: http://www.newburycourt.org/spiritual.htm
Founded in 1893 with the support of the Boston Baptist Social Union, New England Baptist Hospital current specializes in all aspects of musculoskeletal health. The hospital moved to its current location in Mission Hill in 1896. The Interfaith Memorial Chapel was built and dedicated in June of 1962 as a way of enlarging the spiritual ministries of the hospital. Designed by architect Dr. Arland A. Dirlam, the chapel was located between two hospital wings in one of the busiest areas of the hospital. More than 500 people attended the dedication where music was provided by the forty member choir of the School of Nursing and the Faculty Quintet.
Fully renovated since its founding, the focal stained glass window remains while the hardtraditional pews were removed and replaced with movable church chairs. Mid and high level management meetings take place regularly in the chapel today as does new employee orientation and educational conferences. “If not consciously, then unconsciously,” chaplain Kenneth Larsen explains, “the chapel as a powerful symbol of “Sacred Space” enfolds each group. It has a unique New England feel in its architecture.” Prayer and reflection, memorial services as well as graduation ceremonies for Clinical Pastoral Education students also take place in the space.
A small prayer room was also opened in the early 1990s next to the intensive care unit that is frequently a venue for family meetings and difficult conversations.
For more information, please see: http://www.nebh.org/departments-services/pastoral-care/
A kneeler under a tapestry depicting The Last Supper sits in the corner of the three story New England Seafarer’s Mission building adjacent to Cruiseport Boston on Black Falcon Ave. Founded for seamen and immigrants in 1881 as the Scandinavian Seaman’s Mission, the organization has gone through multiple transformations and today serves cruise ship staff, port workers, and seafarers working on container ships.
Supported primarily by the Covenant Churches, the Mission offers this small chapel / prayer area alongside free high-speed internet, a MoneyGram facility, and a small store stocked with toiletries, candy and treats from around the world. Bibles in multiple languages fill shelves next to brochures about safety and the rights of seafarers. The facility is busiest from May through October when cruise ships come in to port and crew members have a few hours off to stretch their legs, call home, send money home, and maybe do some shopping. Executive Director Steve Cushing and port visitors also board container ships year-round offering a welcome, phone cards and assistance – especially for seafarers without visas to come on shore.
Previously located on Commonwealth Pier, Charlestown Navy Yards, a building near the World Trade Center, and then in a trailer that blew away during a hurricane, the current cruise ship ministry developed in the early 1990s after cruise ships started to stop in Boston, initially on Boston-Bermuda runs. Banks of pay phones are history while warm handshakes and smiles remain. The chapel itself has moved and changed over time. Cushing explains “Your volunteers are really your chapel. If you don’t have volunteers reaching out then you don’t have a chapel.”
For more information: http://neseafarers.org/
The Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service at Northeastern University houses a Sacred Space, a Reflection Room, and an area for ablution, private prayer and meditation. The spaces are built, literally, on the ashes of the university’s traditional Bacon Memorial Chapel that burned in the 1990s. All that remains of that building is one stained glass window in the hallway outside of these spaces.
Designed by Monica Ponce de Leon and Nader Tehrani of Office dA and dedicated in 1998, the area was designed to be flexible and accessible to multiple religious-practitioners. The space orients east-west pointing towards both Mecca and Jerusalem. The Sacred Space is the largest area and is used regularly for worship, yoga, meditation, and interfaith events as well as private prayer and meditation. An area used by women for Muslim prayer has been carved out of one corner of the space. The Ablution Area adjacent has space for five people to wash (there is additional space in the women’s rest room down the hall) as well as a space men use for Muslim prayer. And the Reflection Room at the other end of the space provides an area for meetings and conversation central to this vital center.
“In a true university,” said David Hall, Provost and Professor of Law at the dedication of the space, “we choose to respect and love those whose religious practices are different and sometimes in conflict with ours. This sacred space symbolizes our need to embrace the multiplicity that exists within the oneness. If we could do that in all aspects of our lives, then this university, this society and this world could reach its full potential.”
In 2002, the Multifaith Center was awarded the prestigious Harleston Parker Medal, presented by the Boston Society of Architects to "the single most beautiful building or other structure" built in metropolitan Boston in the previous 10 years.
The Multifaith Center is in constant use during the academic year. A Hillel House, Chabad House and Catholic Center provide additional sacred spaces on the campus.
For more information: http://www.northeastern.edu/spirituallife/
Built by Archbishop Cushing as one of a series of workmen’s chapels across the city, the Our Lady of Good Voyages Chapel was opened on the Boston Fish Pier on December 7, 1952. The first mass was offered there the same day on the vigil of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The original brick building was marked by a modest entrance and a star-shaped, stained-glass window above the doors.
Land for this chapel was donated by Frederic G. Dumaine Jr., president of the New Haven Railroad. According to a Boston Globe article at the time, the chapel was “intended for the special use of seamen and waterfront workers, including personnel at the Army Base, Commonwealth Pier and warehouses in the area.” A statue of Our Lady of Good Voyages stood in front of the chapel with a ship in her arms for many years and mass was held regularly.
The chapel will soon be torn down as part of a $10 million development deal with the Archdiocese of Boston. John B. Hynes III, who runs Boston Global Investors and is erecting a 22-story office tower in the adjacent lot, will demolish the old chapel and build a new one at the corner of Seaport Boulevard and Sleeper Street at the foot of the Evelyn Moakley Bridge. The architects for the new building are Cram and Ferguson.of Concord, MA, an established firm with extensive ecclesiastical experience. Many objects and symbols from the old chapel will be moved including a statue of Mary holding baby Jesus and a three-masted ship that long sat on the altar.
Air travel for large segments of the population was new in the early 1950s when Boston Archbishop Richard J. Cushing decided to build Our Lady of the Airways, a Catholic chapel at Logan airport. Primarily concerned about Catholic staff working long shifts at the airport without the opportunity to attend mass, Cushing aimed to bring the celebration of mass to the workers. Cushing brought priests to the airport and to other venues as he built workmen’s chapels in the port, train station, and other venues across Boston. These chapels also helped Cushing solve the problem of surplus priests created as soldiers and military chaplains returned to Boston from World War II. The airport chaplaincy and others provided postings for these priests while expanding services to Boston Catholics as well as Catholic airline staff and others who traveled through Logan International Airport.
At Logan, a small circular “Our Lady of the Airways” chapel opened in 1951 and was renovated and expanded in 1965 to seat 250. According to public accounts, airport personnel in heavily Catholic Boston allowed the Archdiocese to create this space at the airport with no talk of purchasing or renting the municipally owned land. The 1965 Catholic chapel remains today with an altar and crucifix, stations of the cross, and holy water at the doors. The Eucharist is available in the chapel and mass is led regularly by the airport’s Catholic chaplain-priest who is assigned by and accountable to the Boston Archdiocese. Travelers as well as airport staff and local residents of East Boston regularly attend mass. At some point, a prayer rug was added to the back corner of the chapel with a small hand written sign pointing towards Mecca in recognition of Muslim staff and travelers in need of a place to pray.
Plaques memorializing state police, airline workers, concession workers, members of the port authority and others cover the walls of the chapel which is also home to many 9/11 memorials. Annual memorial gatherings for 9/11 take place in the chapel and Logan Airport’s 9/11 memorial is a short walk away, across from the Hilton Hotel at the airport.
Built as a non-denominational chapel in 1941, the chapel on Peddocks Island was fully renovated between 2012 and 2014 by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Boston Harbor Alliance with support from the New England Union Carpenter’s Training Program and the Amelia Peabody Charitable Foundation.
One of 500 similar military kit chapels built before and during World War II, the chapel was used for Catholic, Protestant and Jewish services for members of the military and their families when Fort Andrew was an active military base. It also served as a place of worship for Italian prisoners of war held on the island and later for summer visitors to cottages on the island.
The chapel – built with a choir loft and government issued pipe organ – was abandoned when the fort was decommissioned in the 1950s. For the most part, the chapel fell into dis-repair in the 1960s. Between 2012 and 2014 the chapel was fully renovated including significant structural work, pew removal, lighting and sound system work, painting and landscaping. Windows, doors and hanging lights were installed from an identical chapel at the Naval Air Station in South Weymouth, MA that was being demolished.
For more information, please see: http://www.bostonharbornow.org/facilities
A Catholic Chapel and an Interfaith Chapel sit several floors apart at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton. Founded by five Catholic women in 1868, the hospital has moved and expanded multiple times throughout its history. An early Catholic chapel, the Keith Chapel, was demolished when the current Chapel of Our Lady of Health (or more commonly Seton Hall Chapel) was built in the Seton Hall Building. This chapel is dedicated to St. Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231) who died at a young age leaving three children and a history of feeding the poor.
The Catholic chapel and small outdoor meditation garden are the first thing many visitors see when they come through the main entrance of the hospital. The chapel’s stained glass windows and x shape are visible from outside the hospital buildings. Just inside the main entrance is the door to the chapel with a sign encouraging, “silence and prayer” and offering “peace to all.” Slips of paper for prayer intentions sit below plaques, an image of the Pope, a crucifix, and a rendering of Mother Theresa. Holy water, the Stations of the Cross, multiple images of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph fill the chapel space. A small room to the side is used for confessions and private counsel.
Little has changed about the chapel in recent years. When Steward Health Care bought the Caritas Christi Hospitals (including St. Elizabeth’s) from the Archdiocese of Boston in 2010 they left the chapel intact. Two Catholic chaplains serve the hospital and mass is celebrated in the chapel daily for patients, staff, visitors and members of the Brighton community.
Three floors up, an Interfaith Chapel was built ten years ago with funds donated by a retiring physician. Located between two in-patient units, this space is frequently used by Muslim staff for prayer. Always open, the Chapel and adjoining Ablution Area house prayer shawls and rugs, non-Christian religious texts. The walls are decorated with quotes and artistically rendered images from world religions. Prayer flags hang over one window and beautiful views of Boston are clear through the other. Slightly cluttered, this chapel had a lived-in, well used feel when we visited.
St. Elizabeth’s also established the Bikor Cholim Room in 2012 in partnership with ROFEH International and Wingate Healthcare of Needham. The room creates a space where Orthodox Jewish families can feel comfortable with ritually appropriate food and other items.
More information is available: https://www.semc.org/patient-visitor-information/spiritual-care
Dedicated by Cardinal Cushing on November 11, 1969, Saint Francis Chapel in the Prudential Center today offers more than twenty-five Catholic masses per week. The 52 floor “Pru” was constructed between 1960 and 1964 – the highest skyscraper in the world outside of New York when it was completed. Cardinal Cushing saw an important ministerial opportunity in this commercial center and initially conceived of the chapel as a satellite of nearby Saint Anthony’s shrine though it quickly became a chapel in its own right. Responsibility for the chapel shifted from the Franciscan Friars to the Oblates of the Virgin Mary in 1983. The chapel physically moved when a new Prudential Center complex was built and opened in its current location in 1993.
Three masses are held each weekday, five on Saturdays, and seven on Sundays in addition to open hours for confessions and the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Local residents, students, workers and visitors from the nearby Convention Center stream through the chapel regularly – more than one hundred on weekdays and one thousand on weekends. Six priests from the Oblates of the Virgin Mary and a sacristan serve the chapel assisted by staff and volunteers. A small bookstore adjacent to the sanctuary offers a range of devotional objects and reading materials in English and Spanish.
Open throughout the day for passersby, the chapel aims to be“An oasis of silence, an oasis of prayer,” in the midst of a busy downtown shopping area.
For more information: http://www.stfrancischapel.org/en
A familiar landmark for commuters traveling into Boston from the north, The Soldiers Home in Chelsea towers over Route 1 at the crest of Powder Horn Hill. The Home serves the residential, medical and spiritual needs of roughly 500 veterans through operations funded entirely by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
While the main complex of medical buildings and dormitories was first established in 1882, the spiritual anchor of the facility, St. Michael’s Chapel, was dedicated in 1961 by Cardinal Cushing to serve the needs of WWII veterans.
St. Michael’s is staffed by a full time Catholic chaplain, and offers daily services and religious programming. Military banners placed by Amvets proudly line the walls between the chapel’s stained glass windows, joined by national flags honoring Chelsea’s Irish and Italian immigrant populations.
A lovely rose window rescued by St. Michael’s chaplain from the shuttered Our Lady of Hope Center in Balmville, NY is prominently featured in an alcove to the right of the alter.
In the Quigley Memorial Hospital adjacent to St.Michaels, the Florence Jewish War Veterans Chapel and an Ecumenical Meditation Room both provide weekly services.
For more information: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/che/
As a place where caring for elders is paramount, Sherrill House is more than a 196-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation center. Dedicated to its urban roots and ecumenical spirit, Sherrill House represents a century old tradition of attending to the needs of vulnerable elders and their families.
Founded as the Trinity Church Home for the Aged in 1907 by Trinity Church in the City of Boston, the Home was hailed as one of the first of its kind in the community. In the late 1960s when the building became obsolete, the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts joined with the Board of Trustees of Trinity Home for the Aged and St. Luke’s Home for Convalescents and built a new skilled nursing home, Sherrill House, named after Bishop Henry Knox Sherrill. This new facility opened in 1970. In 1995, The Frank Wood Home in Mattapan merged its assets with Sherrill House, enabling Sherrill House to undertake a multi-year renovation and expansion project. This was completed in 2007, resulting in our current, 110,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility.
The Lawrence Chapel, named after the 7th Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts William Lawrence, offers a quiet space for prayer and reflection. A rendering of the Window of the Good Shepherd by acclaimed stained glass designer and artist, Lyn Hovey, is the focal point of the chapel. The window depicts the image of the Good Shepherd surrounded by the four institutions that came together to form Sherrill House. The moveable altar is rolled throughout the facility to offer both Protestant and Catholic services to long-term care residents.
For more information see: https://www.sherrillhouse.org
Located in Boston’s South End, the 60 bed Solomon Fuller Mental Health Center, is an inpatient psychiatric facility run by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. It is part of the Boston Medical Center. It was named for Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller, an African-American psychiatrist who was a long-time member of the faculty of Boston University School of Medicine. Symbols and objects from a range of religious traditions are available in the small chapel that runs along a hallway.
The religious history of the site that is today Spaulding Hospital Cambridge (SHC) peaks out from many directions. The hospital was founded in 1895 by the Sisters of Charity of Montreal (“the Grey Nuns”) as The Holy Ghost Hospital for Incurables. A 24-bed “cottage,” the hospital served people with chronic illnesses and disabilities aiming to carry out the vision of the order’s foundress St. Marguerite d’Youville to serve all regardless of background.
Over time the facility grew to become Youville Hospital & Rehabilitation Center, a 305-bed care facility serving elders and those in need of rehabilitation. The name changed in 1970 and the facility operated as a member of the Covenant Health Systems. Mass took place regularly in the chapel which was viewable through an in house system in all patient rooms.
In 2001 Youville Hospital formed a joint venture with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and in 2009 Spaulding purchased Youville and changed the hospital’s name to Spaulding Hospital Cambridge. SHC receives about 1,500 admissions annually, with an average daily census of 130. The average length of stay for a patient is 23 days.
The hospital’s St. Marguerite d ‘Youville Chapel was decommissioned after Spaulding purchased the site. A large traditional Catholic chapel with a complete sacristy, it was turned into a conference room. Balconies where the nuns reportedly brought the infectious patients to mass were closed but remain clearly present in the space. A meditation room long a part of the hospital also remains near the main front entrance open to all who enter the buildings. And is open 24/7 for inpatients, their family members, and hospital employees of any or no religious affiliation for quiet, prayer and meditation.
Images of the hospital’s founders and early caregivers are captured in a hallway of stained glass on the first floor, and several paintings hanging throughout the hospital. Some of the chapel’s furniture is displayed outside the former Catholic chapel.
The Spaulding Rehabilitation Network includes SHC for long-term acute medical care, two independent rehabilitation facilities, and two nursing/therapy centers. Ten chaplains chaplains serve the network providing care at the bedside with patients, their loved ones and hospital caregivers. In addition, they lead an annual memorial service; some religious services are offered at the two nursing facilities.
For more information see: http://spauldingrehab.org/conditions-and-treatments/pastoral-care-services
When Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital opened its new 132-bed facility in Charlestown in 2013, it transitioned from a traditional hospital chapel to a modern interfaith meditation space. While the previous space had been converted from its original use as a conference room, the transition to a new hospital offered the unique chance to create a fresh design with the input of the spiritual care team.
The new space, a meditation room off of the main hospital entrance, was designed by architectural firm Perkins + Will. The room followed the principles of the new hospital’s design to transform patient centered rehabilitative care through inclusive design, dynamic uses of light and sustainable approaches. Using a minimalist approach, the meditation room includes only a few chairs, wavy glass, and a sculpture. The room is mostly used by visitors and staff for private meditation and quiet introspection. The sculpture, designed by Michael Guadagno, invokes nature imagery through the use of two types of marble. A community created quilt donated to Spaulding because of its role in treating 32 Boston Marathon bombing survivors welcomes people to the meditation room. The space, like the rest of the hospital is designed to be accessible to all people. The Spaulding Spiritual Care staff including Chaplains and Eucharistic ministers, provides support to the Spaulding Community based out of an office down the hall from the meditation room.
For more information, please see: http://spauldingrehab.org/conditions-and-treatments/pastoral-care-services
Founded by the Universalist Church of America in 1852, Tufts University – then Tufts College – was founded to promote “virtue and piety and learning in such of the languages and liberal and useful arts as shall be recommended.”
The original college chapel was in the College Edifice (now Ballou Hall), in the room now called the Coolidge Room. When the college community began to outgrow it, Mary Goddard, the wife of a trustee, donated the funds for building Goddard Chapel. It was designed by Architect J. Phillip Rinn using local blue slate, and built in the Lombardic Romanesque style. Tomasso Juglaris, an Italian-born artist, collaborated in the design and creation of its large stained glass windows. The chapel was dedicated in 1883.
In the early years, Protestant services were held daily, often led by the faculty of Tufts’ Crane Theological School who served as chaplains. When the Crane School closed in 1968, portions of the chapel were converted to house the new Office of the University Chaplain. Additional renovations were undertaken in the early 2000s to expose and enhance the chapel’s woodwork as well as to restore its Hook and Hastings organ. Today the chapel is the setting for Protestant services, Catholic mass, Buddhist meditation, and Hindu pujas, as well as weddings and memorial services, vigils and celebrations, quiet prayer and contemplation, concerts, and other university events and ceremonies.
In 1995, Tufts Hillel opened the Granoff Family Hillel Center as a center for Jewish life on campus. Before that time, Hillel operated out a converted closet in the basement of Curtis Hall and eventually added additional space for Shabbat services and dinner in a small room above the campus coffee shop Brown and Brew. By the early 1990s, the Jewish undergraduate student population had grown substantially to about 25% of total undergraduates. The space in Curtis Hall was no longer adequate for its growing needs. A group of parents and alumni came together in 1994 to give Tufts’ Jewish population a suitable home on campus. Funded with a leadership gift from Tufts parents Perry and Marty Granoff, and designed by Utah-based architect Fred Babcock, the 10,000 square foot building is built into a beautiful hillside in a central location on campus. Its inviting and flexible spaces include two chapels, a lounge/library, a large multipurpose space for Shabbat and holiday dinners and programming, and offices for Hillel’s nine full-time staff. Design elements such as floor to ceiling windows and cherry wood trim create spaces that are comfortable and welcoming for all visitors.
In the 2007, Tufts purchased the former Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church at 51 Winthrop Street in Medford, which had closed, and the former Knights of Columbus Hall across the street at 58 Winthrop. 51 Winthrop was converted into a space for university gatherings, and 58 Winthrop was converted into the Tufts Interfaith Center. Redesigned by architect Karla Johnson of Johnson Roberts Associates, the space was created to be a home for the Jumah prayers of Tufts’ growing Muslim community, as well as to support the programming of other religious and spiritual groups. It also houses the offices of. Tufts’ tradition-specific chaplains (currently Buddhist, Catholic, Humanist, Muslim, and Protestant). The building includes a large “interfaith room,” a smaller meeting room, offices, and ablution facilities. Designed to blend into the surrounding community, its, large windows help to make the spiritual activities that take place within it transparent to the world outside. Its interfaith room is simple in design, without imagery or decoration. . It has become a beloved retreat center on campus.
In fall 2015, the University Chaplaincy opened a new Prayer Room (Musallah) in Curtis Hall, near the Brown and Brew coffee shop and closer to undergraduate residence halls and the School of Engineering buildings. This responded to requests from Muslim students, faculty, and staff for a more readily accessed space for daily prayer and meditation. It is open to all for prayer and meditation and serves as a “home away from home” for Tufts’ Muslim community.
Today all of these spaces are part of the Tufts University Chaplaincy, which in their description is “a dynamic hub supporting religious, spiritual, ethical, and cultural life for all members of the Tufts community.” Multiple gatherings and programs take place weekly in all of these spaces, organized by student leaders and a staff of about ten who serve whole the university community.
For more information, please visit: http://chaplaincy.tufts.edu.
The first space dedicated to campus ministry on the University of Massachusetts-Boston campus was in the Healey Library. This space was set-up with cubicles for campus ministers and chaplains. Sister Sarah Small, an American Baptist lay person, had planted the ecumenical Christian ministry at UMass Boston with Rev. Jack Hornfeldt in 1974. They were joined by chaplains from the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, the Greek Orthodox tradition, and the Jewish tradition.
It was difficult for the chaplains to perform all of the services needed in their small space. Mrs. Small and Farther James Rafferty were given permission to look for a new space. They discovered the current space off the upper level of the Ryan Lounge on the third floor of McCormack Hall. The university underwrote a fundraiser led by the chaplains to fund renovations. With a new wall filled with glass windows and blue curtains, two new offices, and white oak pews and furniture donated from a convent sanctuary that was blessed and placed into service, the new sanctuary came to life. It was just down the hall from a cafeteria which made gathering students for programming even easier.
Over the years a large rug for the space was donated by a Catholic Campus Minister layperson, Dr. Aldona Lingertat, Ph.D., for the Muslim students’ prayer. Later on, ten small rugs were donated by Catholic Campus Minister layperson Maggie Cahill. Hospitality has been a large part of the culture of the UMass Boston Interfaith Campus Ministry. Other additions and changes came: folding chairs, and an adjustable table for group study, group discussions, celebration hospitality, and a place to display a focal point for meditation. In 2015, the Center received several religious items including the multi-colored glass dove of peace and the prayer-encouraging carved statue from the Sherborn Peace Abby through founder Lewis M. Randa.
More recently, students requested a more flexible space that met the needs for worship and meditation that happens at floor level. Architects were hired and the Student Government and university financed the changes. Stackable chairs, new cabinets, more new blinds on the windows, new curtains at the front frieze, a large monitor with computer connections and wall mounted speakers improved the use of the sanctuary for this multicultural, multi-faith generation. The sanctuary was re-dedicated on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 with votives and community shared prayers, blessings and hopes.
In 2015 the Muslim community also gained a new larger and more permanent space for prayer. An office on the fourth floor of McCormack Hall had been a space for prayer for many years but the community had outgrown it. With partitions and an university-wide agreement, the Muslim prayer space adjacent to the ICM Sanctuary was established. On Fridays the spaces open upto accommodate all who gather for prayer.
The sacred spaces serve the community well. “We always hope that those who enter in find welcome, hospitality, and the peaceful, embracing energy” reflected Adrienne Berry-Burton, campus chaplain.
Built in 1953 as a free-standing chapel, the Interfaith Chapel at the Brockton Campus of VABHS remains its own building with seating for 120 in the chapel and offices for the chaplains. Aside from removing some pews in the 1980s to make the space more handicapped accessible, little has changed about the chapel since it was constructed.
A small Catholic chapel sits to the side of the larger chapel space, which is open from 8:30-4pm daily for visitors. Catholic mass takes place daily and Protestant services on Sundays. Protestant and Catholic crosses can be hung at the front of the larger chapel and there is space for a Torah behind the altar when needed for Jewish services. Memorial services for Veterans can be held in the chapel though it is more often used for moments of quiet reflection.
Chaplains from a range of religious and spiritual backgrounds serve patients at the VA who are there for short and long-term care as well as rehabilitation, mental health care and primary care.
For more information, please see: http://www.boston.va.gov/services/Chaplain_Services.asp
The Interfaith Chapel at the West Roxbury Campus of VABHSis open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Moved around the hospital during various renovations, the chapel – which seats thirty - has been in its current location since the late 1990s. Catholic mass is held every day but Saturday, and a Protestant service takes place on Sundays. Memorial services and celebrations of life are held in the chapel. More often patients, family members and staff stop by for a few minutes of quiet during the day.
The West Roxbury campus of the Veteran’s Administration serves inpatients and outpatients with a range of health conditions. Emergency, rehabilitative and critical care are available at this facility which is served by VA chaplains from a range of religious and spiritual backgrounds.
For more information, please see http://www.boston.va.gov/services/Chaplain_Services.asp
Houghton Chapel and the Multifaith Center at Wellesley College were built to provide sacred space for the transformative work of religious and spiritual life in higher education. In 1896, a gift of $100,000 was made for a chapel, donated by Miss Elizabeth G. Houghton and Mr. Clement S. Houghton, in memory of their father. The William S. Houghton Memorial Chapel was designed by Heins and La Farge, the architects of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, and dedicated on June 1, 1899.
Since its dedication on June 1, 1899, the historic Houghton Chapel has served as a center of community life at Wellesley College. The Chapel has provided a venue for College ceremonies and traditions, concerts, lectures, and other performances. Houghton Chapel has afforded the community a spiritual space, reflecting the College’s commitment to the education of the whole person—intellectually, relationally, and spiritually.
In the spring of 2008, renovations were completed including the creation of the new Multifaith Center on the first level of the building, designed by KieranTimberlake. The Multifaith Center is a global center of learning and discovery for all people; a place for prayer, meditation, study, worship, and education. By adding new sacred spaces to our existing facilities in the Chapel and Hillel Lounge (Billings Hall), the Center provides spaces for regular gathering for all of our religious communities including a a dedicated space for prayer with traditional wudus, or ablution stations, a meditation room, a study, and a central gathering space. The Multifaith Center has become a cherished home for students of diverse religious and non-religious traditions.
Located in Downtown Crossing, the Zvhil-Mezbuz Beis Medrash strives to live up to the family tradition and heritage of the name it carries. It dates directly to the Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chassidic movement and the Zvhil-Mezbuz Chassidic tradition going back to the early 1700s which was carried to Boston in the early 1900s by Grand Rabbi R’Yaakov Yisroel. It is now in its third generation in Boston and welcomes Jews from all segments of the community regardless of their affiliation or background. Afternoon services take place in this space Monday through Thursday at 1:30pm to which all are welcome.
For more information, please see: http://www.rebbe.org/boston.html