Join us in sharing what the prayerful space in the SLUH Chapel meant to you and your formation as a Man for Others. Click the 'comments' tab below to view reflections – and add your own. Please include your class year with your name (eg, Junior Billiken '93).
Center for Faith and Service
For the Greater Glory of God
Returning Beauty and Prominence to SLUH’s Sacred Space
The Center for Faith and Service Renewal, a cornerstone of Go Forth, will punctuate the school’s Jesuit, Catholic identity and commitment to forming Men for Others. By renovating the main Chapel, while simultaneously creating the David J. and Kelly E. Laughlin Campus Ministry Center, SLUH will make more efficient use of space, create positive environmental impact and reaffirm its commitment to vocations and creating leaders for the Church.
SLUH has historically been one of the top feeder schools to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Society of Jesus. In addition, thousands of graduates play active roles in their parishes and dioceses as leaders of competence, conscience and compassion. A renewed Chapel will further this faith-filled tradition.
Many SLUH alumni have responded to God’s call to serve as priests, deacons, brothers and seminarians, and several current students have expressed interest in religious vocations. In addition, thousands of graduates play active roles in their parishes and dioceses as leaders of competence, conscience and compassion.
“When Anna Backer gave the money to create our campus here on Oakland Avenue in 1924, her stated objective was that the school would produce vocations to the priesthood, and specifically to the Jesuits,” says Fr. Ralph Houlihan, SJ ‘52. “We are still honoring Mrs. Backer’s gift today, as each year we help several young men discern their priestly vocation.”
Did You Know?
- SLUH has historically been one of the top feeder schools to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Society of Jesus.
- Ten alumni are in religious formation to become Catholic priests. Six of them are in the Society of Jesus.
- Sixteen retreats are held each year as part of an expanded four-year program that fosters the spiritual formation of our students.
- More than 80 alumni have become Jesuits since 1924.
- More than 250 living alumni have become priests or entered religious life.
- Students dedicate more than 45,000 service hours annually to marginalized peoples in the St. Louis, nationally and globally.
Today, the Chapel has inadequate lighting, worn-out seating and furniture that does not connote sacred space. It is undersized for the whole school, oversized for a class Mass and does not effectively display the importance SLUH places on liturgy and Ignatian formation.
By renovating the main Chapel and creating the David J. and Kelly E. Laughlin Campus Ministry Center, we will:
- Make more efficient use of space. Reducing the size of the Chapel will create a more intimate, and appropriately-sized worship space, while allowing our strong Campus Ministry program to consolidate its service and retreat programs nearby. The renovation will create new academic department offices on the second floor. Through the addition of windows, students and staff will see and feel the presence of the Chapel even in the corridors of the original Backer Memorial.
- Create positive environmental impact. A new roof and updated, energy-efficient HVAC systems will contribute to sustainable long-term use of resources. Reducing our environmental impact is an important aspect of our Jesuit, Catholic identity.
- Reaffirm our commitment to vocations and our Ignatian identity. The beauty and prominence of the Chapel will speak to our students as powerfully and effectively as any inspired lecture. We have a unique opportunity through the renewal of the Center for Faith and Service to ground every activity that SLUH will undertake for the next few generations in our Jesuit, Catholic mission. The centrality of the Sacred in our chapel, and a new Campus Ministry center, will make vocation promotion a top priority in the coming decades.
- Realize intangible value. Reimagining and updating our Chapel and Campus Ministry center will capture the eyes and the hearts of students. Simultaneously, it will renew the central sacred space of the school so that all students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni will experience SLUH as a place of encounter with God.
"Whether it be through the Sodality of Our Lady, Pastoral Team or liturgical choir, Campus Ministry has offered me a multitude of opportunities for spiritual growth. The staff energetically plans events like retreats, Masses and service work that I have taken part in. These opportunities have been essential in my growth, as I have been able to concretely recognize God’s love for me while learning how to live my own life in loving service to Him. This development is important because it allows students to begin the path toward becoming Men for Others.”
– Noah Scott '20
Pictured (far right) in Guatemala City on Senior Project.
SLUH is deeply humbled and grateful for the extraordinary generosity of Pat and Aja Stokes, who have pledged to match, dollar for dollar, $2-million in gifts made toward the Center for Faith and Service renewal project. This is an incredible opportunity to double the impact of your gift while renewing the central sacred space of the school so that all students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni will experience SLUH as a place of encounter with God.