Shrine Chapel of Our Lady of Orchard Lake
The Chapel is located at the exact center of the Orchard Lake Schools. It is
a symbolic remembrance that the Holy Eucharist is the centrality of our
lives. Built in 1962, the Chapel is dedicated to Our Lady of Orchard Lake,
queen of Poland and our patroness. Two natural materials, wood and stone, compose the building. Warm, deep, sedate colors are used
throughout the structure. Pennsylvania fieldstone accentuates the wood grains. African mahogany is used on the wall panels, doors, and millwork.
The curved beams and roof purlins, consisting of laminated Oregon
Douglass fir, convey an atmosphere intended to resemble hands clasped in
prayer looking heavenwards.
The main entrance is sheltered by a low projection of the roof in contrast to the height of the nave which measures 80 feet across. The narthex and nave floor are made of Italian Aurora marble broken into slabs to resemble the hewn qualities of flagstone. The sanctuary consists of the same material but is laid out in squares to commemorate the more formal and sacred part of the church. The predella, or raised altar platform, orine-colored marble indicates the most sacred part of the Shrine. Behind the altar are life-size, lifelike statues of Christ and His Apostles at the Last Supper gathered around their altar.
The Sanctuary is enclosed on three sides by a low fieldstone wall similar to the exterior walls of the Shrine. It is topped by mahogany grillwork on the sides as the back wall is surfaced by closely spaced mahogany battens. The simple but strong vertical treatment quietly but persuasively draws attention to the sanctuary while not competing with the facility of the altar. Above the sanctuary, a large window matches the glass area of the entire facade. The high frost wall exterior facade is almost all glass.
In the sacristy are six small chapels; each of these small altars are exquisitely designed. One has a hand-carved polyptych copied from the altar of the Cathedral Church of St. Mary's in Krakow, Poland – the See Cathedral of Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, the late St. John Paul II. Another has wood carvings of the Saints who were instrumental in bringing the Faith to North America, as well as laity: Isaac Jogues, John de Breboeuf, Katherine Takakwitha, etc. A third includes the saints of Poland's history: John Kanty, Hedwig, etc. Other chapels include contemporary designs. The chapel interior is 80 feet wide with a seating capacity of approximately 750 people.