The Church on the Hill
The Highest Point in Felicity
Everyone Is Welcome
The Church on the Hill at Felicity is the first thing you see as you drive into town. Located on the Hill of Prayer, the Church on the Hill stands in line with and over a thousand feet from the sundial whose gnomon, Michelangelo’s Arm of God, points to the Church. The man-made Hill is, and always will be by deed, the highest point in Felicity.
About the Hill of Prayer
In 2001, Father Moraga blessed the future site of the Hill of Prayer, now welcoming all religions. By the following year, 150,000 tons of earth were moved to create the 35-foot-high Hill of Prayer. Engineered to earthquake Zone 4 specifications, the Hill of Prayer supports the later-built Catholic and Protestant Church on the Hill at Felicity.
To reach the Hill of Prayer, one must climb 49 steps – a worthwhile journey, as the view from the top is spectacular.
About the Church
The church’s design was inspired by La Chapelle Notre-Dame d’Espérance – the Our Lady of Hope Church – in Brittany, France. The original church was built in 1850, following a cholera epidemic, to serve as a place of pilgrimage and peace.
Construction here began in 2006 and on March 7, 2008, St. Felicity Day, the church was dedicated by both Protestant and Catholic clergy: Reverend Arthur P. Stanley, Chaplain, Her Britannic Majesty’s Forces, and Monsignor Richard W. O’Keeffe.
The distance between the Church and the Pyramid is 910 feet.
The Blue Window
The stained-glass Lieschke window is a tribute to Wolfgang G. Lieschke (a relative of Goethe).
Lieschke was a lifelong friend of founder Jacques-André Istel. Until his death in 1999, Lieschke co-designed the early layout of what later became the museum. Lieschke served with the 82nd Airborne Division and in 1957 assisted in the training of the US Army in free-fall parachuting.
The window, like the door, is blue. The color symbolizes wisdom, stability, faith, purity, and spirituality, fitting indeed for the Church on the Hill at Felicity.
The Church Bell
The church bell was a gift to the museum from Ambassador and Madame Jean-Marie Daillet. It was cast at Villedieu-les-Poêles in France, a town famous for its metalwork and especially church bells. The bell was so heavy on delivery that the entire belfry had to be rebuilt.
The bell is inscribed with the logo of the Museum and:
Felicitas Nomine Benedicta Anno Domini XXVI Gloria In Excelsis Deo
Happiness in the Blessed Name in the Year of the Lord 2006. Glory to God in the Highest
Earlier, in 1998, the Medaille des Affaires Etrangeres, the prestigious medal of the State Department of France was awarded to the Town of Felicity.
An Attempt at Human Flight
On August 15, 2009 – a day of pardon annually celebrated at the Brittany church – La Chappelle Notre-Dame d’Espérance received a fitting gift as a token of gratitude from the Church at Felicity.
Called The Winged Boat, it is an engraved wooden piece by Hervé Saliou commemorating an attempt at human flight made in 1856 by sailor and Brittany native, Jean-Marie Le Bris. The model was built by Le Bris who caught an albatross in order to better understand the mechanics of flight. As detailed in the piece, Le Bris tethered his creation to a horse-drawn cart pushed downhill to provide lift.
A copy of The Winged Boat is located at Felicity.
Services of Remembrance are held from time to time at the Church on the Hill and there is ample opportunity to engage in meaningful events at the church.
Many weddings have taken place at Felicity and the Church is popular for the renewal of vows. The setting and the view are unforgettable ….