Stonehill Franciscan Services has long needed a renovated Chapel to serve residents, staff, and families. The former Chapel could only seat approximately 60 people and was often overflowing, the new San Damiano Chapel seats at least 160 comfortably. Many residents who call Stonehill home are anxious to celebrate their spirituality! Now those prayers have come true thanks to the generosity of many donors. The Altar in the new San Damiano Chapel was dedicated on June 7, 2018 in a special Mass with presider Father John Haugen and Deacon Bill Mauss.
As beautiful sunlight streamed through the windows of the new Chapel, over 200 residents, staff, and special guests gathered to celebrate this momentous occasion. Music was provided by the Sisters of St. Francis, who are the original founders of Stonehill Franciscan Services. Many guests commented how needed the new space was and others remarked that they had never had the opportunity to see a Chapel or an Altar dedicated. Smiles could be seen on everyone’s faces and some even shed a few tears of joy.
The newly renovated Chapel features expanded seating, improved sightlines and acoustics, and will provide equipment so that Mass may be broadcast to resident rooms for those who are too ill to attend Mass or who choose to record it and watch it later.
Crucifixion Scene in the Stonehill San Damiano Chapel
The Chapel crucifix flanked by the Blessed Mother and St. John the Beloved have a significant history as well as connection to the Franciscans. From Oberammergau, Germany, the Crucifixion scene dates back to 1922, where they were originally atop the High Altar in Saint Mary Church, in Waterloo, IA. The parish was staffed by Franciscan Fathers of the St. Louis Province, and the large grade and high schools were staffed by the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Family, Dubuque, IA. After the parish closed in 2002, Fr. John Haugen acquired the scene and had them restored and a new cross fashioned for the corpus. They were presented to Stonehill for the San Damiano Chapel in 2018. Stonehill is forever grateful to Fr. Haugen for this wonderful gift.
This renovation was made possible by the generosity of many supporters who gave over $707,000 to the project. This was the first step in the Stonehill Initiative 2025, a plan to bring many renovations and additional services to the Stonehill campus by 2025. To date an additional $225,000 has been raised for the next phase to renovate the second floor of the Stonehill Health Center. People interested in helping this initiative may make donations online at StonehillDbq.com/donate or call to speak with Executive Director of Development, Amy Schauer at (563) 690-9623.
Stonehill would like to thank everyone who supported this project including all donors, staff, and residents, the Archdiocese of Dubuque, the Sisters of St. Francis, and the Chapel Planning Committee. Stonehill also sends gratitude to all the workers who completed the construction of the Chapel.