Sandwiched between the newest commercial complex and the community center of Barangay Holy Spirit, there is a spacious community park with the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chapel (OLSH) standing at the end of the park’s walkway. Constructed in 2005, the chapel is one of the newest places of worship that services the every growing population of the barangay.
Situated at Isadora Hills Park, between Marcelino and Faustino streets, the chapel grew from an empty grass lot in 2005. Presently the OLSH is listed as a sub-parish in St. Benedict Church, in the nearby Don Antonio Heights. However the OLSH was constructed one year before St. Bendict’s, and was first place under the Our Lady of Fatima Sub-parish Chapel of Holy Spirit Parish, in the close by BF Homes subdivision. The OLSH is under the Archdiocese of Novaliches.
The OLSH started as a partnership between the residents of the Isadora Hills Subdivision and Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSC), which is also located along Faustino Street. Presently the masses at the OLSH are officiated by priests from the Missionaries of God’s Love (MGL).
The OLSH is a simple structure, with lots of open spaces to sit and contemplate. However, there is also a wealth of artworks to be found in this humble edifice, from paintings to sculpture, and the stained glass windows all around the chapel.
On the north aisle, there are stained glass windows depicting the 20th century papacy reformer: Pope Paul VI (1897-1978, Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini), the patron saint of animals and nature: St. Francis of Assisi (1184-1226, Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone), the first Filipino saint: San Lorenzo Ruiz (1600-1637), Filipina founder of the Religious of the Virgin Mary: Mother Ignacia (1663-1748, Ignacia del Espíritu Santo or Ignacia Jerónima Juco).
At the south aisle, the stained glass windows feature Sto. Niño or the Christ Child, the second Filipino saint and patron of Filipino youth: San Pedro Calungsod (1654-1672, Pedro Calonsor, el Visayo), founder of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart: Fr. Jules Chevalier (1824-1907), and organizer of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: Pope St. John XXIII (1881-1963, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli).
The altar of the OLSH has a beautiful wooden crucifix with Mary address the dying Jesus. This was carved by Isidro Algabre, a mandudukit (sculptor) from the Angeles City, in province of Pampanga. The images of Jesus and Mary were Algabre’s translation of the crucifix found at the Basilique Notre-Dame du Sacré-Cœur (Basilica of Our lady of the Sacred Heart) in Issoudun, France. It is noted that Blessed Jules Chevalier founded the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (Missionnaires du Sacré-Coeur / MSC) in Issoudun, in 1854. The first chapel to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was later constructed around 1861, also at Issoudun, which would later grow into the present cathedral.
Along the aisles of the OLSH chapel are surreal expressionist paintings of the Stations of the Cross. These are reproductions of the German artist priest, Sieger Köder, as translated by Mr. Louie Segismundo, a local businessman and the past president of Isidora Hills Homeowners Association, Inc. (IHHAI). It was during the term of Mr. Segismundo, when the residents of Isadora Hills Subdivision band together to build the OLSH.
Fr. Sieger Köder (1925-2015) is a German priest, who is known for his expressionist religious paintings. Köder was a silversmith and painter, before he decided to enter the priesthood. However, before he made that decision, Köder was a soldier in WWII, and was captured in France and held as a prisoner of war. Upon his release, Köder first continued his studies at the Academy School of Art in Stuttgart, then English philology at the University of Tubigen. Upon entering the priesthood, Köder continued his passion for art, and produced numerous paintings. In 1985, Köder was bestowed the honorary title of Monsignor and the Order of Merit from Pope John Paul II.
Around the chapel grounds there are several murals, which were painted by local fine arts students. Lead by then student Marc Gueco Dimabuyu, of the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP), they group was able to create murals of the Four Evangelists, the Mysteries of the Rosary, the Ten Commandments, and other stories of the Bible. Mr. Dimabuyu is now a graphic designer, who has worked in various design firms.
The OLSH may have not been designed by a famous architect, or hold paintings and sculptures by noted artists; but the chapel is a wonderful example of a community banding together and pooling all resources to build a creatively beautiful space for the whole neighborhood and its visitors.