Our Lady of Victory: Live

Greetings, Project fans!

The end of a year is always a time of reflection of life, love and loss. And as 2009 draws to a close, let's finish it by giving a shout-out to West Philly's defunct Our Lady of Victory. Formerly located at 54th & Vine Streets, and still standing as a Caveat Emptor'd Protestant church, the large and impressive Victory was consolidated in 2006 with Our Lady of the Rosary into the new Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament parish.

The new parish occupies Rosary's former building at 63rd & Callowhill, and it easily ranks as one of the Project's best visits. Still, let's give Victory its due. I'd only ever seen exterior shots, like the 1931 image above, until Project reader Joe Kearney, who has heroically kept us updated on the slow death of neighboring Transfiguration of Our Lord, sent us the following interior shots taken shortly before Victory closed:

Interesting, no doubt, although I think this is one decision the Archdiocese actually got right. Ornamentation always trumps size, and if they had to close one, they made the right call by saving the nearly pristine, if smaller, Our Lady of the Rosary. The Romanesque Victory is big and grand, but it also looked really grungy and very much has the feel of a troubled Tabula Rasa building.

Of course, in a perfect world the Project would have saved and restored it, since there was still a lot of interesting stuff there. Especially those windows--yowza!

Perhaps one of these days the Project will take a trip and see what was left behind. In the meantime, enjoy. Oh, and make sure you finish out 2009 with a bang--we certainly will :)