Find The Periphery in Dorcas Chapel

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Zachary Peltonen, Staff Writer

 

The Dorcas Chapel is located on the periphery of the academic world at Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wis.

It resides in the northwest corner of Marian’s campus and although it is one of the most striking architectural buildings at Marian, it largely goes unnoticed.

The rounded walls and limestone exterior look like a sewing basket. In the bible, a disciple named Dorcas sewed clothes for the poor. The chapel honors this woman through her name and through its design.

The thick oaken doors that one opens to enter the Dorcas chapel give off the impression that the space that one is about to enter is different from the rest of the buildings on Marian’s campus. The doors dark red color feels older and more solemn.

Entering the chapel, one is confronted with an open space that is defined by the curvature of the walls. Like the doors, the space is solemn and quiet. The only audible noise being a small heating unit in the back that hums quietly. I can hear myself think.

A candle flickers in the corner against the wall.  On this day at the chapel, I am the only one there. I might have well been the only person in the world, as the noise from the outside is almost entirely dampened.

Sitting down in one row of the soft cotton chairs that form the pews of this church, the smell of an old book’s pages being turned reaches my nose and I take a deep breath.  I look around for a few moments taking in the ceiling that stretches above my head.

The wall that encircles the space is covered with interlocking diamond shaped cutouts made of stone. These diamond shaped cutouts give the building its sewing basket look. It is quite a simple yet beautiful room, and it invites one to walk around its edges and observe.

As I walk around the room’s outer edge, I notice that there is more to this small chapel than I first thought. There are idols and stained glass scattered around on the walls. The candles are lit in their case, but so far I have seen no one who might have lit them. The altar is made of white marble. It adds to the solemn and old feeling of the place.

The piano and other instruments sit to the side, waiting to be played. All in all, the chapel is a solitary place, where the outside world almost doesn’t exist.

For anyone that feels that the stress of classes and life has become too much, regardless of your religious beliefs, take a moment to visit the Dorcas Chapel, for some quiet and stress free reflection.