Yesterday, as the wedding party was taken to beautiful places for some wedding pictures, we walked through the Marquette campus. It’s the first time I had been on that campus. Little did I know that there is an interesting piece of history there. As we approached a quaint little chapel on this beautiful campus, a member of the wedding party mentioned something about a “stone that Joan of Arc touched and it now remains colder than its surrounding stones”. My ears perked up. What was she talking about? I always find these anomalies facinating. Do I generally believe them? No. What I do think is neat is the history behind them.
As myself and a few bridesmaids entered the chapel, it was so quiet you that you could hear a pin drop. A lone person sat at the front of the chapel facing the alter. With only a few mintues to spare, as the rest of the bridal party walked around the outside of the chapel, we approached the alter with only the heels of our shoes tapping the floor and echoing throughout the tiny stone building. Our eyes jetted around searching for this Joan of Arc stone. The visitor, who realized she was no longer in solitude, raised her head and smiled at the presence of 5 bridesmaids holding beautiful bouquets. We explained our small quest for this historic stone to which she directed us to the curator.
After finding the curator in a small office, we were directed to a square opening in the wall behind the alter. As the story goes, the chapel was originally built in the french village of Chasse in the 1400’s. Hundreds of years later, it was purchased by a millionaire, who had it dismantled, stone by stone, and rebuilt with the same stones on her property in Long Island. In 1964, it was donated to Marquette university. It was dismantled, once again, and rebuilt on the Marquette campus. The chapel has supporting documents that in 1429, the stone at the bottom of the rectangular cove in the wall of the chapel once was the base for a statue of the Virgin Mary. It is written that prior to battle in the Hundred Years war, Joan of Arc prayed and then kissed this stone before leading her French army to many victories. At the age of 19, her life ended when she was in the hands of the English, who burned her at the stake for charges of heresy.
The curator went on to show us that the stone now remains colder than its surrounding stones by 6 or 7 degrees. We each touched the stones around the cove and then the platform wear the statue used to stand. Low and behold, it was significantly colder than the others. I definitely couldn’t tell you why it would be colder. Maybe it’s naturally made of a different material than the others, maybe it’s some type of a hoax, or maybe it’s something supernatural and really has some spiritual significance. However you want to look at it, I was intrigued to be able to touch a piece of what is significant history.