EDITORIAL: Loyola lacks consideration in constructing Chapel of St. Ignatius


Jacob L'Hommedieu

The construction site for the Chapel of St. Ignatius sits barren and muddy on Monday August 22, 2022. Students see the site as an eyesore in the heart of Loyola’s campus.

Jacob L'Hommedieu, Op/Ed Editor

Coming into the new school year, few students expected to see the university finally get on with the plans it has had for the new Chapel of St. Ignatius since 2010.
The project has been on Loyola’s backburner for almost a decade, and now, its completion is expected to be done by fall of 2023.
We acknowledge that they told us about the project, but scrolling through emails or posts on social media is insufficient in sharing the major announcement– especially compared to the space the construction has stripped away from campus.
As the construction of the new chapel continues, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Loyola is suffering from a lack of consideration for student concerns.
The building is a gift given by the Benson family, which will replace the Ignatius Chapel in Bobet Hall as the university’s official place of worship. It is also an addition to campus that students did not ask for.
But still, the university is putting its nose to the grindstone to get this chapel built.
The building of the chapel, as well as the university’s lack of input from students on the project has, understandably, made many people upset. Why didn’t they ask us first?
The answer is simple. The Benson family has a legal right to build whatever they want with the donation they give, but we wish they would have asked the student body what we would have wanted.
We could have asked them for the money to go toward scholarships, endowed professorships or even a building that the majority of students would have made actual use of. While we acknowledge that people on campus are religious and might use the place for worship, it’s not suited for everyone. While Loyola does have to cater to its Catholic populace as a Jesuit school, one does have to question the Benson foundation’s logic in their donation.
We would have preferred to have a building dedicated exclusively to more inclusive student services like a place for commuter students, more food options and event spaces, for example.
Since the university announced its construction earlier this year, a multitude of criticisms have been leveled against the chapel and its construction. The construction zone eating away the green space outside of Monroe Hall is frustrating. Students feel the modern architecture and its placement in the middle of campus sticks out like a sore thumb among the university’s red brick. And for new students, their first experience of Loyola is of it with a large mud stain smack in the middle of the campus.
In fact, there is so much animosity towards the new chapel that Loyola deleted an Instagram post that announced the chapel’s construction, where students shared dozens of negative comments regarding the project. It is speculated that the deletion of this post was due to the heat it received.
Other than what we have been told in announcements from the university, the majority of students weren’t involved in the process of planning the chapel’s construction. Instead, all we are left with is more questions than answers.
Did the Benson family ever consider asking the student body itself what it wanted? Why did they decide on white, modern architecture in the middle of a red-brick campus? And, of course, the ever pressing: how does this chapel even benefit the school?
We get that the university has to build what the donors want, but we wish that our own thoughts and opinions could have been factored into the decision to begin this ugly construction.