MOSAIC Fall 2016 - Page 38

Jeff Duchene paints delicate imagery stenciled along the ceiling arch of the main chapel’s narthex. A generous donation from St. Vincent Ferrer Parish funded the project. Restored to Glory Once hidden but now recovered, original imagery of chapel vestibule inspires again. Daniel Gallio N o one at the seminary remembers when it happened exactly. Regrettably, it did happen. The walls, decorative molding, arches, and barrel-vaulted ceiling of the narthex, or entrance vestibule, of the main chapel were at some point painted over. The white paint covered up delicately stenciled and hand-painted images of birds, praying angels, flowing grapevines, floral patterns, Eucharistic symbols, tiny crosses and stars, along with the original teal color of the ceiling—presumably for all time. All remained hidden, that is, until this summer. Duchene Miller LLC, a restorative painting company from Haslett, Michigan, has just completed a two-month project to recover the original imagery and original colors and bring the narthex back to its former glory. The decorative images were rediscovered only by chance. The narthex suffered major water damage in 2008 when its roof flashing failed after a heavy rain. As Sacred Heart’s painter, Robert Fellenz, began to peel away damaged plaster and paint, his scraper revealed the fine details of religious imagery in colors of beige, rusty red, salmon, deep blue-green, and even gold leaf. “The stenciling looked original,” says John Duncan, director of facilities management, “which was an exciting find from a historical perspective.” But since the discovery did not directly affect the life of the seminary, “we had to let it go.” But nature would intervene again. Another heavy rain caused water to leak into 36 the narthex ceiling. The water caused ugly “effervescence”—whitish minerals began to seep from the arched limestone window surrounds of the narthex. The seminary administration decided in the summer of 2015 to have the surrounds thoroughly cleaned. Seminarian Craig Marion, who has a lively interest in historic preservation, noticed the work going on—which reminded him of the stenciling beneath the narthex’s paint. “Would you mind if I found a donor to pay for the narthex to be returned to its original condition?” Craig asked Mr. Duncan. “Not at all,” Mr. Duncan replied. Craig asked his pastor, Sacred Heart alumnus Fr. John Esper of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Madison Heights, if he would be open to cov W&rFR&W7F&F67G2( vRvW&RFFB2&6( 60fFW"W7W"( FR6V֖'FW6W'fW2F&PFV6&RbvRvW&RFVWB( Ю( vVR6RF&V7BƖPF2B&R6VBF( FRB&6( Fv@67&VBV'B"6V֖'62f#`B6Rv2RvWBvBfVVƖr&W@F2GRbv&( 62VfbGV6VR6vW"vF2FVvFW"VVƖR֖W"bGV6VR֖W""GV6VR2&VVFr&W7F&FfRFrB&W&pb7F&27G'V7GW&W2f"F'GV'20&V7G26VFR6W&6W2F&VvWBFR&6F6W6RbFWG&B"GV6VR2֖W"BFVЦV&W"VWFGVG&6&Vvv&धVRf'7B'&W6V&6rFRFV6&FfRFW6v2B6'2V"FR#2FPFV6FRFR6V֖''VFrv26WFVB#B( FRBFVBFb@7FV6v&2FR'G2B7&gG27GR( Ф"GV6VRW2( FR7&76W2FP6VƖrfVB&RVvƗ6FRw&WfW2&P&W7VR6&RvVvFFP6V( 2vF2&Wff&6FV7GW&7GR( ФWB6RFR&Bv&67&rvB6Fr&W&r7FW"BrFv&6RBFVvV6`FR&v&VFFB&VV7@FvFW"FvRGV6VR֖W"v2&PF&R7&VFRFR&VFF'G&6pFR&VrFW6v2FG&6fW"W f"BFrBF6V"fVVЦf"7WGFr7FV6&&B( vRvVB&6FFR'G2B7&gG0W&FF6FR6'2F( 62"GV6W6Rv2W&7Bf"Fp7F&667W&7( FR'FW2&VbFR6VFB2BgFVF6VB'WBB2G2v&VWGBW'6R( 626w"FFBW7267&VBV'N( 2&V7F"( FR'FW&W&W2W"V'G2FV6VFW"FR&@2vRVFW"FR67FGbFR6V( Ф6v"fFW2wVW7G2FW֖RFP&W7F&VBFW6v2( ĒF^( w&VRvFRFBB2fF7F2( ФFVvƖ26>( 2VFF"ࠥ67&VBV'N( 2'VFrV&VB6RFRF&Vv7FW"`7F&26W22V6P6F7B&FF6V7ff6Pb7FGWFGf6VVB32SbsCFVvFFW &W6W'fF&V7G2ࠠ