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The wonder that is the St Aloysius Chapel

A sneak peek into the beautiful chapel of St. Aloysius College

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St. Aloysius College in Mangalore was built in 1882 by the requests made by the people of Mangalore to the nine Jesuits who had arrived on the shores of the city. The people wished for there to be an institution that would offer quality higher education in the city of Mangalore. What started as a request from the local people led to what is today one of the best educational institutions in the city of Mangalore with one of the cleanest campuses in the city. Today, the campus includes a wide variety of buildings. In the campus are four divisions or blocks of the degree college each with its own building, a high school, two buildings that belong to the pre-university division, another primary school and many more such buildings. One such structure is the St. Aloysius chapel, about which we will be discussing in detail.

In the year 1885 Rev Father Joseph Willy decided to convert the southern wing of the administrative block of the college into a chapel which would provide the students and staff a place to offer their prayers and be engulfed by a divine environment. And so was born the St. Aloysius College chapel. The chapel is a replica of the world famous Sistine chapel of Rome and is equally mesmerizing and breathtaking. When one enters through the doors of the chapel, the main part of the chapel that is the hall also called the nave comes into view. Nestled on either side of the nave are the aisles. Far ahead there is a raised platform which is in fact the sanctuary. The altar is right next to the wall of the sanctuary. The hall and aisles aside, what will really leave you feeling enchanted are the beautifully detailed and colorful paintings that adorn the walls and ceiling of the chapel. The artist credited with creating these masterpieces is Antonio Moscheni from Italy.

On the ceiling are paintings that depict the life of St. Aloysius of Gonzaga who was born on the 9th of March in the year 1568 and was son and heir to Marquis of Castiglione. Despite being born in a wealthy family with a very promising future, Aloysius decided to dedicate his life to religion and in turn lend a helping hand to those in need. Thus, Aloysius handed over his fortune to his younger brother and set off to live out his destiny. While Aloysius was pursuing his higher studies a deadly plague broke out in Rome which caused Aloysius to volunteer and help people struck by the plague. As a result of this, Aloysius too fell sick, became weak and passed away. The paintings painted on canvas depict the heroic life story of St. Aloysius of Gonzaga. A part of this is also depicted on the wall behind the altar.

Of all the paintings Moscheni worked on for the chapel the biggest and most spectacular is the one on the wall opposite to the main altar which shows Jesus as the friend of children. Meanwhile the two sloping portions of the ceiling are also covered with paintings – one depicting the apostles and the other the Jesus saints. Another altar is completely dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary who is seen holding her child Jesus Christ. One can also find a painting of Adam and Eve along with the scriptural history of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The St Aloysius chapel is visited by tourists all year round as they come to bask in the beauty of this majestic structure. Make sure to add this to your bucket list next travel season and we guarantee you that you won’t be disappointed!

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