The Pedro Arrupe Chapel
The retreat house chapel was part of development and building undertaken in the mid-sixties. The architect Andrew Devane designed and oversaw the building of the new retreat house and chapel.
Completed in September 1967, the chapel is one of Andy Devane’s many works of liturgical or religious interest in which sensitivity to and awareness of the work of liturgy is evident. His correspondence about the chapel and notes on its construction (see the texts accompanying images here) convey confident understanding of personal and corporate spirituality and professional architectural discipline.
The building represents an important exploration of post-conciliar liturgical principles. The placement of the tabernacle was of critical importance to Andy Devane, though opposed by the Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid. Devane argued against a central placing, insisting that the spiral design of the building called for a more creative response.
The chapel was named the Pedro Arrupe Chapel in 2007, in memory of the Jesuit Superior General, the centenary of whose birth was being observed.
- The Pedro Arrupe Chapel in Manresa is usually open to the public from 10.30 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm on weekdays. It is occasionally reserved for use during retreats and other functions - enquiry to reception will let you know.
1. The sanctuary area of the Arrupe Chapel. The chapel was described by its architect, Andrew Devane, as a "a little Domus Dei" (a little house of God) when he wrote,
I imagined it as a little Domus Dei – a place for His simple glory and worship – for a small number of specially collected faithful – where mass is celebrated – as the climax of all worship, devotion and teaching therein. I thought of it as a humble and simple place – for communal and personal prayer to the Blessed Sacrament, and as a place (where more than is usual in most chapels) the love and word of God is taught by each retreat master to each retreatant who will voluntarily assemble here in all the years to come.
2. In any chapel it is of course necessary to define - within this unity of God and his people – the sacerdotal space and that of his people and in this case it had to be done with great economy and with simplicity.
3. Repousse copper with touches of red and white enamel bring a subtle palette into the chapel
4. The repousse copper Stations of the Cross are a significant element of the Arrupe Chapel
5. The play of light in the chapel exactly reproduces what Andy Devane envisaged: subtle movements of light and shade play on the curved walls, reflecting the 'interior movements' to which those praying in the chapel are asked to pay attention.
6. The chapel takes shape
7. A number of sketches and correspondence describe the deliberations about the placement of the liturgical elements in the chapel.
8. The retreat house chapel was rededicated as the Pedro Arrupe Chapel on 3 December 2007. Desmond Cardinal Connell presided, assisted by Paddy Carberry SJ, director of Manresa, John Dunne SJ and Bill Toner SJ. The preacher was Joe Dargan SJ.