Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


St. Anne Shell Chapel

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Institution Name: Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Original/Historic Place Name: St. Anne Shell Chapel
Location on Campus: west of the Sisters of Providence Cemetery
Date(s) of Construction:
1843original log construction
1876updated, new stone chapel built to replace log chapel
Designer: unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Regionalist/Vernacular (Glossary)
Significance: history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Walls: interior: shells; exterior: stone
1843-present (2006)memorial site (shrine)

Mother Theodore grew up in a French coastal town, with great devotion to St. Anne, patroness of sailors. During a severe storm at sea as she returned from a trip to France, Mother Theodore promised that if the ship was saved, devotion to St. Anne would be fostered among the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The first chapel was a log structure built in 1843, but it was replaced in 1876 by the present stone structure. The altar and walls of the interior are adorned with shells gathered by the Sisters from the Wabash River and arranged in artistic designs, the handiwork of Sister Mary Joseph le Fer de la Motte, assisted by the novices.


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Last update: November 2006