Chapel of Our Lady Queen of Peace

Chapel of Our Lady Queen of Peace in 1938, photographer unknown. [Image: College of St. Scholastica]

1200 Kenwood Ave. |  Architects: O’Meara, Hills & Quick | Built: 1938  | Extant

The St. Scholastica campus’s most ornate structure, and one of the architectural jewels of Duluth, the 1938 Chapel of Our Lady Queen of Peace was named in response to the Nazi war effort war that was tearing apart Europe.

Located between Tower and Stanbrook Halls, Our Lady Queen of Peace is architecturally described by Sister Agnes Somers as Romanesque Revival, a style favored by builders of Benedictine abbeys in Europe beginning in the tenth century. Its footprint takes the shape of a cross, and it features a 120-foot high tower capped with a hipped roof, itself crowned by cupola from which sprouts a cone-like spire topped with a Roman cross. But rather than the usual bricks and brownstone used on most of Duluth’s other Romanesque Revival buildings, the chapel is faced with granite and white limestone from Indiana, further tying it to its companion structures to the north and south. Further adhesion was added with the construction of covered, heated cloister walks that literally connect the chapel to Tower Hall and Stanbrook Hall.

The chapel’s front façade features a three-story-high arched limestone entryway rich with Catholic iconography carved by George Thrana, including the building’s name and a likeness of Mary between the entry portals holding a dove and an olive branch, symbols of peace. Above the doors, the recessed triptych Great East Window of stained glass fills the arch, above which a triangular pediment is topped with another cross. Castellated turrets flank the central pier, and near the top each contains an oriel-like niche, carrying statues of St. Benedict (south) and his twin sister St. Scholastica (north).

The chapel’s bell is not contained in its tower, but rather in a campanile—a small, free-standing tower positioned at the rear of the chapel. The bell, which students nicknamed “Benedict,” had first been installed in the original south tower of Tower Hall in 1921 but was moved to this new location in 1938. Its conical roof is capped with a weather vane of a ship that, according to Sister Somers, “represents the Church sailing through the storms of persecution to her heavenly port.”

Many more photos and detailed architectural descriptions of the chapel and other CSS campus buildings—including the chapel’s interior—can be found in Sister Somer’s book All Her Ways.