Magdalen Chapel occupies 5,000 square feet and comprises a gathering space, a worship chapel, Eucharistic chapel, reconciliation room and sacristy. “Philosophically, we wanted the placement of the chapel to reflect our attitude about spirituality … the chapel needed to be located in the mainstream of campus life because that’s how we view the role of spirituality in daily life.” (Sister Margaret Huber, Ph.D., fifth president of La Roche College at the time of the dedication.)
The gathering space serves as a foyer. The black marble eight-pointed star fountain at the center of the space recalls the baptism of all believers. The eight-pointed star signifies fullness and regeneration and is also a traditional Marian symbol, highlighting Mary’s role in salvation. Above the fountain is a skylight cupola.
Across from the fountain is an icon titled “Motherhood.” Vladislav Andreyev, master iconographer and founder of the Prosopon School of Iconology, wrote the piece in 1988 in egg tempera and gold leaf on wood. It depicts three figures – St. Ann; her daughter, Mary, the Mother of God; and the child Jesus. “It is a contemporary piece symbolizing that it is through motherhood that we have access to the Spirit World.” (Malarcher). It points to the role of motherhood in God’s salvific plan. The icon was a gift of the Richard B. Fisher Family.
The stained glass window in the gathering space depicts Saint Mary Magdalene, and was crafted and signed by Stuart McCausland in 1990-91. The figure of the Magdalene is depicted with a jar. In the mythology surrounding Mary Magdalene, there is reference to an alabaster jar that contained the scented substance called nard, with which Mary reportedly anointed Jesus. However, there is no New Testament reference to Mary Magdalene ever anointing Jesus. In John’s Gospel, he is anointed by Mary of Bethany (12:1-8); in Matthew the woman is unidentified (26:6-13); in Luke, she is a repentant sinner (7:36-38); and in Mark, she is unidentified (14:3-9).