Beyond its breathtaking design, the collegiate chapel, completed in 1962, unveils a story of remarkable significance: It is the first entirely female-designed Catholic chapel in the United States.

mater dei chapel

On March 8, 2024, Mount St. Joseph University's iconic Mater Dei Chapel was officially named to the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of Interior, honoring its architectural significance. 

Sister Augusta, along with three Mount St. Joseph University students, Margaret Rolfes Brungs ’60, Judith Dettenwanger Ebbeler ’61, and Marlene Hoffman ’61, are responsible for the interior design, furnishings, and works of art within the chapel. Sister Augusta was assisted by Sister Ann Austin Mooney, SC, and Sister Loretta Ann McCarty, SC, who also contributed liturgical art to the newly constructed chapel.

"[This honor] has ignited a resurgence of support and a desire to preserve the chapel as a symbol of progress and a living testament to the indomitable power of art to transcend boundaries and effect change," Vice President for Institutional Advancement at the Mount, Sydney Prochazka tells Felix Magazine. "Through the lens of Mater Dei Chapel, we are invited to witness the stories of these remarkable barrier-breaking women, who, through their creativity and dedication, left an indelible mark on both their community, and possibly, the Nation."

To read the full article on the Mater Dei Chapel's unique history, visit the original article here beginning on page 58: Restoring Legacies.

In photo: Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Sydney Prochazka

Supporting the Preservation of Mater Dei Chapel

In 2019, under the guidance of Chief Mission Officer Sister Karen Elliott, C.PP.S., and Sister Barbara Davis, SC, '65, the Mount installed new pews, updated kneelers, restored the floor, and restored tile mosaics depicting the Stations of the Cross.

We are now ready to complete the restoration of Mater Dei Chapel with a new sound system, updated lighting, and a new organ. With your gift, you can be a part of history and help Light the Way for future generations.

If you would like to support the preservation of Mater Dei Chapel, please visit our Restore Mater Dei Chapel page here. All are welcome to tour and see the chapel on Mount St. Joseph University's campus, 5701 Delhi Rd., Cincinnati OH 45233.