For those who love classic movies with heart, a message, and a memorable story… Do you remember Lillies of the Field with Sidney Poitier and Homer Smith saying… “I’m gonna build me a chapel…?” Sidney Poitier won an Oscar for this 1963 performance.
Meanwhile, up in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Antonio Guerrieri and his crew had been working on the Eden Hill Chapel of the Marian Fathers since 1950. Antonio was a master carver and furniture builder who had recent experience in restoring area churches when the Marian Fathers asked him to build them a chapel. Antonio reminded himself that “he had been raised and trained in a culture which taught that before a man died, he had to do something great for God.” A gift of thanksgiving?
Antonio was joined by his apprentice, Stanley Olender. Later Stanley Socha, a wood carver, and masons joined the team. They were going to build a chapel, the Chapel at Eden Hill.
The chapel took many years to complete and was finally finished. Construction started in 1950 and finished in 1960. A modest chapel of stucco in design was destined to be The Divine Mercy Chapel and a beautiful stone chapel and a national shrine–The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. at Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Stanley Socha left New England around 1995 and worked with building homes for the Habitat for Humanity. He moved to Chapel Hill to be closer to his daughter, Susanne Socha Jackson. That’s where the story comes full circle where the Chapel at Eden Hill becomes the Chapel of Divine Mercy and shortly thereafter we charter Divine Mercy Assembly 3005.
When our new church was dedicated about ten years ago, Stanley Socha, was once again challenged with creating something for it. The altar candle stands were his work. Stanley was recognized in a St. Thomas More Church stewardship profile in April 2012.
Our Faithful Navigator, Bill Jackson, is very proud to have shared in the life of his father-in-law through Susanne. We are all honored to have Stanley with us, too. His Divine Mercy Legacy–his gift of greatness to God–lives on with us at St. Thomas More Church.
Learn more about the building of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. Click here