Villa Chapel

Jeremy Beecher reports on SSJ plans for Villa Chapel

Apr 04 2010

Dozens of people attended an Easter Day rally at the old Villa Chapel, hoping to raise enough money to prevent its destruction. The chapel is an area landmark, but time has taken a toll on its structure -- the Sisters of St Joseph, who own it, say fixing it would cost millions of dollars they don't have. The Sisters have begun salvaging parts of the interior; then they plan to turn the chapel over to a developer, who would likely destroy it. But this group says the chapel's problems are cosmetic, not structural, and fixing it would likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, rather than millions. At the Easter rally, they unveiled an ambitious fundraising campaign -- they're hoping to attract 1,000 donors to give $100 each. If they meet that goal, they say they'll be able to get the restoration process underway and preserve the chapel for future generations. "We have a masterpiece here," said Lisa Austin. "There are people who haven't even been in the building, who have only looked at the videos online, who are sending us money." "When i found out they wanted to tear it down, i cried," said Ivy Vahanian, who spent nearly every day of her youth in the chapel as a student at Villa Maria Academy. "Ii think if everybody just did a little bit, then it would be taken care of."

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