Blessed Sacrament Chapel

The altar reredos has two mosaics depicting scenes of sacrifice and of spiritual nourishment described in the Old Testament – the Sacrifice of Abraham and Isaac and of Abraham and Melchisedech.

The tabernacle, made in 1900, features a pelican motif, representing the Eucharist. The pelican is a symbol of Christ because according to myth she feeds her young with blood from her breast in times of the scarcity of food and thereby gives her life for her young.

Around the central motif is the inscription ‘Adore to devote latens Dietas’ (Devoutly I adore thee, hidden Deity). Four large crystals are set around the inscription and around that again is a border of 38 amethysts. There is also a large amethyst in each corner.

The tabernacle is surmounted by a carved canopy which repeats the motif of the pelican feeding her young, with smaller figures of angels on either side.

Another feature of the chapel is the multi-panelled mosaic behind the altar with its Eucharistic message. In the top panel is a large representation of the Crucifixion with smaller mosaics of the Ascension and the Resurrection on either side. The smaller central panel depicts the Last Supper, while in the panels on either side depict the Brazen Serpent, which Moses held up to those bitten by the serpents in the desert ‘that whosoever should look on it should live’, and the Lamb of God with the white pennant, reclining on the book of the Seven Seals. The Israelites gathering manna in the desert, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (unfortunately this is obscured by the canopy of the reredos) and Moses striking the rock are shown in the lower panels. In the gable of the panel set in a trefoil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove hovering over all the scenes.

On the arch in front of the chapel are the words: ‘Hic est panis de coelo descendens’ (This is the bread which comes down from Heaven), while on the arches at the side is the text: ‘Ego sum panis vivus de coelo descendi” (I am the living bread which came down from Heaven).