Assumption College Still Restoring Chapel, 60 Years After Tornado | NECN

Assumption College Still Restoring Chapel, 60 Years After Tornado



    1953 tornado killed 94 people and thousands more buildings were damaged or destroyed, including campus chapel at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass. (Published Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014)

    (NECN: Katleyn Tivnan) - This Sunday marks 60 years since one of the nation's deadliest tornadoes touched down in Worcester, Mass.; 94 people were killed in the storm.

    Thousands more buildings were damaged or destroyed, including the campus chapel at Assumption College.

    Now, six decades later, part of the church, which was damaged in the storm, has been restored and dedicated to the memory of those lost.

    A stained glass window in the Assumption College Chapel in Worcester holds a look into the past. Named the ‘tornado window,’ it pays tribute to the Assumption Priest and two sisters killed in the 1953 Worcester tornado. Their faces can be seen in the picture.

    “It represents Christ calming the storm here with his disciples on the boat it's from the gospel of Matthew 8th chapter,” says Father Donat Lamothe.

    “We thought it was appropriate that one of the first windows restored would be the tornado window and that was decided pretty early on,” says Melanie Demarais.

    The 1953 tornado destroyed 12 stained glass windows on the school's former Greendale campus. A second set was installed a few years later and has remained at that location for decades.

    After years of work, the windows are finally being restored and moved to Assumption College's current campus.

    “Working with Assumption prep grads to help raise money; it's a $25,000 project per window,” says Demarais.

    Three windows are now on campus. The school plans to bring in three windows a year until all 12 are there.

    “We were very grateful to receive them because over the years we've inquired about getting them back no several occasions,” says Father Lamothe.

    Close to 60 years later, the tornado window remains a solemn reminder of the devastation and lives lost during that disaster.

    “Not only our own campus but for the 90 people who died that day it becomes like a memorial to them and that tragic event.”