Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel

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Institution Name: Mount Marty College
Original/Historic Place Name: Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel
Location on Campus: connects Bede Hall and Monastery entrance wing
Date(s) of Construction:
1945-1950original construction Schulte, Edward J.
Designer: Edward J. Schulte (Cincinnati, OH)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: interior: Indiana sandstone; exterior: Lannon stone and Bedford stone
Roof: originally tile; now asphalt shingles
1950-present (2006)museum
1950-present (2006)chapel (also various workshops, retreats, etc.)

Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel, constructed slowly during World War II as shipments of materials could be delivered, was completed in April 1950. Standing atop a high hill on the bank of the Missouri River, the 187 feet high modified Gothic building topped by a 12 ½ foot bronze cross can be seen for miles. In addition to the main chapel, about a story above ground, the structure also contains a lower chapel, originally decorated in Native American motifs, that was planned for daily use by college students. Today students, Sisters, and guests share the use of both upper and lower chapel for worship, retreats, workshops, concerts, and the like. Behind the original sanctuary of the lower chapel, which was one of the first to have an altar allowing for the celebrant to offer Mass facing the congregation, are rooms housing a museum collection featuring both Native American artifacts and items of local Benedictine history from the time of Bishop Marty to the present. The chapel structure is in excellent condition, having been tuck-pointed and waterproofed again in the recent past.

Among the stone structure's features which continue to attract numerous tour groups and other visitors are the sculptures of Benedictine saints over the portal of the front door, the Bishop Marty Memorial room adjacent to the upper level entry way, the marble high altar with reredos and canopy, and the carved white oak screens flanking the sanctuary. The stained glass windows, designed by Erhard Soettner and depicting parallel scenes from the life of Christ and of St. Benedict, ministries of the Benedictine Sisters of Yankton, and the Liturgy of the Hours, are also favorites of students and visitors and the object of study by various students of the arts and humanities. The chapel, which physically connects Mount Marty College and Sacred Heart Monastery, is a prayer center for both the college and monastic communities.


Karolevitz, Robert F. Bishop Martin Marty: The Black Robe Lean Chief. Yankton, SD: Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Convent, 1980.

Karolevitz, Robert F. Pioneer Church in a Pioneer City. Aberdeen, SD: North Plains Press, 1971.


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Last update: November 2006