A STATION OF THE CROSS Maternal Heart of Mary Chapel Station of the Cross One of the Fourteen Mosaic
Stations of the Cross


In 1990 the consultants who drew up the conservation plan for the former hospital site found the chapel to be of significance to the whole State of New South Wales, saying that it:

...demonstrates excellence in design and detailing, is aesthetically pleasing and a notable example of influence of Romanesque style on the traditional language for a religious building. It displays superb craftsmanship in brickwork, joinery, glazing, tiling and plasterwork. Demonstrates the height of display of wealth in Catholicism during the 20th century.
The consultants made the following recommendations:
This building is so specialised and such an excellent example of its type, that it could never be used for any other than its originally intended purpose. To do otherwise could be to remove its primary significance. It is the sum of all its parts and could not suffer loss of any of its internal fitments such as pews, choir, screens, altar, religious symbols and motifs without serious detriment to its meaning as a purpose built place of worship.
(It) could, of course, be preserved as it is - almost as a museum piece. While this approach would retain a very significant heritage item, it is not considered to be the most appropriate way of saving the building. It would be a more meaningful way of conserving and interpreting this excellent work of ecclesiastical architecture to find or create a demand for its use as as a place of worship, or for related gatherings.

Since 1993 the chapel has been regularly used for the celebration, with official permission, of the traditional Latin Mass. These Masses are usually sung, using Gregorian chant, which had been described by the Second Vatican Council as 'distinctive of the Roman liturgy; therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services'. The chant's importance to the musical heritage and to the living culture of the West has been increasingly acknowledged in recent years, even in secular circles.

Mother Xavier, who had many musical friends, including Madame Melba and John McCormack, insisted as always on the highest standards in everything her Sisters did. The nuns at Lewisham became famous for their music as well as their medicine, and released two LP records, which included some Gregorian pieces. No doubt Mother Xavier would be pleased to know that the preservation of the chapel built in tribute to her is linked in a special way to the preservation of the most distinctive form of Catholic music.

THE ST JOSEPH ALTAR Maternal Heart of Mary Chapel St Joseph Altar
THE ST MICHAEL ALTAR Maternal Heart of Mary Chapel St Michael Altar

THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS ALTAR Maternal Heart of Mary Chapel Sacred Heart Altar

THE ANGEL FOUNTAIN Maternal Heart of Mary Chapel Angel Fountain