saintfrancisofassisicha1A conceptual drawing shows a rendering of what the new St. Francis of Assisi Chapel in Bonaventure Hall at Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, will look after construction when the railing and open area to the first floor will be elimated and first floor extended all the way across. The sketch shows a tentative floor plan of how the resulting space will be configured. (Submitted photo/sketch courtesy Cardinal Stritch University)MILWAUKEE — Cardinal Stritch University recently announced plans to construct a modern worship space on campus. It will be named St. Francis of Assisi Chapel.

The chapel will be constructed within space located in the southern wing of the second floor promenade/hallway of Bonaventure Hall, the university’s main administration building. The chapel will accommodate 160 people, four times the capacity of the present space.

Construction is expected to begin in May and should be completed by early fall. The architecture for the new chapel is being supplied by Groth Design of Cedarburg; C.G. Schmidt of Milwaukee will handle construction.

The latest efforts to build a new chapel on campus began with students, who presented a letter with 60 signatures that described the need to interim president Kent Bergemann and the board of trustees last December. Michael Brauer, vice president of university advancement, envisioned the opportunity to build a chapel on the second floor of Bonaventure Hall.

An appropriately sized, centrally located chapel has long been deemed as a need for the university. In May 1962, when Stritch was moved from St. Francis to its current Glendale/Fox Point main campus, the chapel was located in the basement of Serra Hall. That space was considered by the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi to be a temporary location, but it was not until February 2007 that the chapel moved to its current location in a converted lounge/meeting room on the first floor of Bonaventure Hall.

Since that time, participation in daily and weekend Mass, praise and worship services, and university events has grown beyond the capacity of either chapel space.

The St. Francis of Assisi Chapel’s central location reaffirms the university’s ongoing commitment to its Catholic Franciscan identity. Construction is possible due to several generous donations that have provided all of the necessary funds.

“It is fundamental to our identity as a Catholic university in the Franciscan tradition to not only encourage academic excellence, but also spiritual growth,” said Bergemann, in a press release issued by the school. “Our new chapel will be a place where future generations of students, faculty, staff and visitors can gather to experience that vital spiritual core. Our students’ hopes for a larger chapel renewed the inspiration and desire expressed by the Sisters in 1962, and we thank them all for their vision.”

Founded in 1937 by the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, Stritch, with more than 6,000 students, is the largest Franciscan institution of higher education in North America, with classroom sites across Wisconsin and Minnesota.