A beloved Church treasure can be found in the middle of the United States of America.
The St. Joan of Arc Chapel is at the center of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This chapel was first constructed in the fifteenth century in the Rhone Valley near Lyon, France. In the 1920s, Gertrude Hill Gavin, whose father was a wealthy railroad industrialist, obtained the chapel and had the structure dismantled and shipped to her family’s estate on Long Island. She renamed the chapel after St. Joan of Arc to honor her devotion to the saint.
Gertrude Hill Gavin later sold the chapel and her French Renaissance château to Marc Rojtman. Fire ravaged the chateau but the chapel survived, so the Rojtmans offered the structure to Marquette University.
What makes this chapel so unique is that it contains the “Joan of Arc Stone,” brought by Gertrude to the USA from France. According to a sign at the chapel’s original site in France, St. Joan may have visited the original chapel in 1429 after she met King Charles VII. According to Marquette University, legend says that she stood on this flat stone in front of a statue of the Virgin Mother to pray for success in battle. Then she knelt down and kissed the stone. Since that time, the stone has always felt cooler to the touch than the stones around it.
The St. Joan of Arc Chapel now serves as a place of peace and solitude in the midst of suffering and sorrow.
Learn more about the St. Joan of Arc Chapel at Marquette University’s information page here.