The Lyons Chapel
The Lyons Chapel is a sacred space dedicated to worship, quiet reflection and prayer. Dedicated in 1956, it served as a place of worship for young women when they first entered the Sisters of Mercy. At the time, the Center was a novitiate four-year training program, and Diocesan Sisters College for those wishing to become a Sister of Mercy. The chapel was refurbished in the 1980s and named for the Lyons family whose generosity made the renovation possible. Ed and Jane Lyons took a keen interest in the Center, with Ed chairing the Board of Directors in its early years.
Towards the front chapel is the main altar which, in Christian thinking, represents Christ and so is treated with great respect. It is draped in simple cloths, candles and linen. Near the altar is the ambo, a raised stand, where Scripture is proclaimed during prayer services and Liturgies. The community gathers in the space before the altar and the ambo so that the presence of God in sacrament, Word and community may be visibly experienced as a unity. Against the farthest wall is a second altar with a tabernacle where the Eucharist is reserved. A light always burns as a sign of the Blessed Sacrament being present. Hanging on the wall over that altar is a large canvas depicting a rose against the faint outline of a cross. This rose, painted by Mary Daly, RSM, was the focus of the 1998 Easter Triduum, a three-day period of prayer and reflection that begins with Holy Thursday liturgy and ends Easter morning. The theme chosen for the celebration that year was beauty. Christ’s fidelity in loving us even unto death is the beauty celebrated in this rose.
Stations of the Cross and richly colored stained glass windows adorn the side walls of the chapel and a basket in the back of the chapel contains prayer requests for guests, visitors and program participants.