Wrigley: a field of dreams turns 100

“And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”

The quote is from the film Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner as Ray Kinsella who comes to believe in the power of a ball field. The quote is spoken by his new friend, writer Terence Mann, played by James Earl Jones.

 

Joan of Arc, in Milwaukee?

How did the small medieval French chapel at Marquette University come to be associated with Joan of Arc?

First, a few basic facts about her life:

Joan was 12 years old when she first saw visions and heard voices. Convinced by the beauty and authenticity of her visions, she believed that she was in communication with true messengers of God, including St. Michael and St. Catherine. She followed their inspiration through the rest of her short life. She led French forces into several battles and participated in tactical sessions planning those attacks, and was wounded twice. She was captured, tried for heresy, and burned to death at age 19 for being a “relapsed heretic,” that relapse being what we would call cross-dressing, while imprisoned.

After 25 years, repeated efforts by Joan’s mother led to a re-examination of all trial testimony and the recalling of over 100 witnesses. The verdict was reversed, and Joan declared a martyr. She was made a saint in 1920, or 500 years after her birth.

At the time of Joan the chapel stood in the village of Chasse, 12 miles south of Lyon. It was called, Chapelle de St. Martin de Sayssuel.

In the chapel is a stone you can touch. This stone formed the base on which formerly stood a small statue of Mary, at which Joan had stopped to pray. (One story is that this may have been the last place at which Joan prayed before her arrest and imprisonment. This is based on trying to reconstruct her movements based on her testimony during her trial, and then figuring out where she actually was. Joan was herself illiterate and repeatedly moved through the countryside both with and without accompanying armies.)

At Joan’s time this stone was not in the chapel, and may have been outdoors at a crossroads. At any rate, after finishing prayers she kissed the stone. The stone itself was preserved (but not the statue), along with its story. It was moved to America along with the chapel in 1926.

The story of the stone is that it is always colder than anything else in the room. Touch the stone when you visit, and it is indeed colder than anything else in the building.

NEXT: what it feels like to visit

Stone by stone

Imagine that there is one, ONE, medieval French chapel transported from the French countryside to North America to be used as . . . a medieval French chapel. Where would you expect it to be?

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, right? Exactly what I was thinking. In fact, I was thinking it should be within a stone’s throw of Rt. 41 on the campus at Marquette University in central Milwaukee. And that is exactly where it is!

It is a stunningly simple and beautiful place re-built over a radiant-heat stone floor, so that even a Wisconsin winter won’t keep people away. Yet it was empty except for a caretaker on a sunny Saturday afternoon in March.

You open heavy dark wooden doors to enter directly into the small sanctuary facing a little altar. There are thirty or so chairs set up for services. (Catholic mass is held every Sunday except during the university summer break period.)

The chapel was moved stone by stone from France to first, Long Island where it remained attached for about forty years to a single-family residence as a private chapel. Then it was donated to Marquette and moved again stone by stone to Milwaukee.

NEXT POST: why it’s called the Joan of Arc Chapel

Lunch with motorcycles

If you like the looks of motorcycles and parts you can lunch with them at the Harley-Davidson Museum restaurant and bar, just off Rt 41 in central Milwaukee. Their motto: “Not just a museum, it’s sacred ground.”

At least it doesn’t smell like a motorcycle shop. We ordered chili, Booyah stew, and a spinach salad. Everything was tasty, but we didn’t have time to tour the museum yet.

Lots of info is at http://www.h-dmuseum.com

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