Brothers’ Chapel (Current Art Classroom)
Every Place Has a Story
A sacred place of worship is a necessity in any Catholic school. It is a place for reflection, thanksgiving, and worship. Taking off one’s shoes to recognize the sacred silence is only one of the many memories of the Christian Brothers’ Chapel at Catholic High School.
This sacred space was built in 1964 and was dedicated to J. Paulin Duhe’, a member of the New Iberia community. After his unfortunate passing, his wife donated money to have a chapel built in his honor. He was an extremely active and well-respected member of the Catholic High family. There is a plaque made to honor his donation and dedication to Catholic High School. This plaque is located on the left-hand side of the main door to enter the chapel.
The chapel was originally used by everyone who was involved in the school, from the brothers to the students and even parents. According to Ms. Jamie Nelson-Hebert, a 1977 graduate of Mount Carmel and also the former CHS Development Director, the chapel was used very often when it was initially built. Students would attend mass once a week while the brothers would partake in daily prayer every morning and evening. On special occasions, a mass was held in the brothers’ chapel. Religion classes would often take place in this sacred domain. Catholic High would also invite guest speakers to teach the students about the journey of life, as well as spirituality and morality. Quaint and personal weddings were also held in the chapel. These gatherings are now only remembered through stories and personal memory. This chapel was crucial to instilling the Christ-centered values that Catholic High School so often proclaims.
While Catholic High moved into the new century, the chapel was used less and less. As the number of students increased throughout the years, the number of masses decreased from weekly to once or twice a year. The doors would stay open for prayer for students throughout the day, but full-class prayer and study hall was rare. In 2008, the school chapel moved from its original location near the brothers’ residence to where the library was previously located. Catholic High’s administration felt as if the chapel should be a more prominent part of its campus. Currently, the original chapel serves as an art studio. It is a perfect place for a studio because of the spirituality and tranquility that resides in the walls of this sacred chapel. This picturesque structure on campus has left a lasting and sentimental impression in the hearts of the community.
A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words
The brothers’ residence and chapel were dedicated in 1964.
The view of the old chapel and current art studio as seen from the 100 hall.
Where the Eucharistic vessels were cleansed.
A snapshot of the unique windows and where the memorable Stations of the Cross were previously located
(These can now be found in the new chapel.)
A view of the chapel in use as an art studio. This view faces what was once the altar.
View of the outside of the old chapel today
The cross on the outside wall is dedicated to Mrs. Geri D. Alvarez.
Voices from the Past and Present
The following questions are from an interview with Bo Duhe’, a graduate of the Catholic High class of 1980.
Question– Did you visit the chapel as a student of CHS?
Answer– “Yes, we often held Mass in the chapel for individual grades.
Question– What are your memories of the appearance of the old chapel inside and out?
Answer– “The exterior of the chapel included a plaque dedicating the chapel to the memory of my great-grandfather, J. Paulin Duhe’. My grandmother had the chapel built in my grandfather’s name after he passed away.”
Question– What year did you graduate?
Answer– “1980, the last graduating class that went from first to twelfth grade at CHS”
Question– Do you have any memories of the Christian Brothers?
Answer– “The Christian Brothers were very strict yet intelligent and also remarkable teachers.”
Duhe, Michele. Brothers’ Chapel. 2012. Photographs. Private Collection.
Hebert, Jamie. Personal Interview. 11 May 2012.
Segura, Eugenie. “This Is CHS.” English III. Catholic High School. 4 May 2012.