Chapel of Divine Love
Status: Active, Roman Catholic
22nd & Green Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Original visit: June 29, 2013
Where Is It?
22nd & Green Streets, two blocks away from St. Francis Xavier in Spring Garden.
One of the things I like best about this city is that you can cover a beat for years and still stumble across completely unexpected, amazing finds.
One such find is the Roman Catholic Chapel of Divine Love, which is almost spitting distance from St. Francis Xavier, and I never knew it until recently.
I know, I know, Chapel of Divine Love? Sounds like some hippie commune from the 1970s. But quaint name aside, what you get is a legitimately great hidden treasure. The Chapel is staffed by the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, who are known colloquially as the Pink Nuns because of their pink — yes, really — attire.
The good sisters sit (or kneel) in perpetual prayer inside the chapel, which is open to the public during normal waking hours every day of the week.
The building itself is a fairly pretty Gothic structure. Smaller, as befitting a chapel, although it has some nice woodwork both in the exterior tympanum and the Gothic arch above the altar, and a lovely gold triumphal gate that separates the sisters from the rest of the nave. (And the riffraff that occupy it!)
But really, you’re not going to come here for the architecture. You’re going to come here because it’s a quiet, serene little escape, and the sisters themselves, while not exactly a spectacle on their own, are worth checking out, especially if you, like me, never knew that nuns could wear pink. Plus, you might get to see their understated “changing of the guard” ceremony, which is neat.
Honestly, though, I just like places that remain open during the day. And if you do, too, then you’ll feel right at home here.
Fun Fact: This convent is one of only four staffed by the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters in the entire country. The others? St. Louis, MO; Lincoln, NE; and Corpus Christi, TX. Hooray, us!
How’s It Doing?
Not exactly an applicable question, since the Chapel doesn’t function as a parish and thus isn’t bound by the same rules. As long as there are enough nuns to staff it (not a given in this day and age) and the building stays in good shape (also not a given in this day and age), this place should stick around.
See St. Francis Xavier. You’re only two blocks east, so it’s pretty much exactly the same. Good area, street parking. Stay away from Parkway traffic snarls and you’ll be just fine.
The Chapel (and the convent) was designed by one Paul Monaghan. Doesn’t ring a bell? Not surprising. Monaghan is one of those largely unsung heroes of Philadelphia’s religious architecture scene. He did a lot of work at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and Villanova University, and designed one of Philly’s great churches, the one and only Immaculate Conception (Germantown edition).
The Final Word