MOSAIC FOR THE CHAPEL OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION,
ST. FRANCIS UNIVERSITY, LORETTO PA
St. Francis University was established in 1847 by six Franciscan teaching Brothers from Mountbellew, Ireland, who had been given land in Loretto by Michael O'Connor, the first Bishop of Pittsburgh, to establish a school. The university was one of the first Catholic universities in the United States and the first Franciscan college in the nation. It is still conducted under the tradition of the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular. Loretto is the site of the first English-language Roman Catholic settlement established west of the Allegheny Front, in what is now the United States, by Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin in 1799.
The chapel was built in the 1950s. The design included a large mosaic on the altar wall which however was never executed. A generous private endowment through Rome Records, a non-profit organization for the promotion of Catholic art, has made it possible to bring to fruition the original vision of the founders. A large mosaic of the Immaculate Conception was started in 2019 and is now ready for installation.