Chapel Of Charity Dedication

Posted by Dana Hinton

June 4, 2024

LEONARDTOWN, Md. – If you visit St. Mary’s Ryken around lunchtime on any school day, you’ll find about 60 students, faculty and staff gathered for daily Mass in the beautifully renovated Chapel of Charity.

This sacred place of worship began as the Sacred Heart Novitiate, now known as the Chapel of Charity. It operated from 1959 to 1968, offering education and training to prepare young men to become Xaverian brothers. In the 1970s, the Novitiate building was renamed Rupert Hall and repurposed for classrooms for Ryken High School, while the chapel became a library. In 1981, Ryken High School and St. Mary’s Academy merged to form St. Mary’s Ryken. After Romuald Hall was constructed in 2001, the chapel was restored and rededicated in 2002 in honor of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and is in memory of Sister Sara Ann Abell, Sister Alberta Abell and Sister Pauline Abell.

The year-long renovation embraces the school’s heritage by displaying symbols of the Sisters of Charity and the Xaverian Brothers, highlighting the school’s historical and spiritual foundations. The classic, simple aesthetic is ideal for worship, prayer and private meditation.

Enhancements to the chapel include professional oil paintings above the new altar of Christ the Teacher, St. Francis Xavier, Theodore Ryken, Mother Catherine Spalding and St. Therese of Lisieux; a new altar of repose; ambo; crucifix; statues; tabernacle; entry and sacristy doors; lighting; tile flooring; and choir loft railing. Two confessionals were added in the back of the chapel.

The renovations pay homage to the enduring legacies of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and the Xaverian Brothers, offering a welcoming and spiritual environment for daily Mass, spiritual direction and confessions and ensuring the sacristy is more serviceable.

Over the past year, 80 major supporters, along with countless participants in events such as the SMR Knight Gala, the SMR Knight Raffle, and the annual SMR golf tournament. These efforts have profoundly impacted the most cherished space on our beautiful campus.

“The newly renovated Chapel of Charity is a testament to the unwavering support of our community and the deep spiritual roots of St. Mary’s Ryken,” said President Rick Wood. “We extend our deepest gratitude to all donors, whose exceptional generosity helped transform the Chapel of Charity into the magnificent space it is today.”

A formal dedication Mass is being hosted on Wednesday, June 5 with donors, faculty, staff and friends of SMR to celebrate the new chapel. Wilton Cardinal Gregory will celebrate Mass along with other local clergy. A reception will follow in the Rupert Hall courtyard.

For photos from the event, click here.

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