Grand Ambitions for a Beautiful and Sacred Chapel

In honor of the life and memory of Howard Phillips Jr., benefactor of Phillips Charitable Foundation, we have awarded a $250,000 grant to the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood, New York. The grant will go towards HVAC renovations in the historic Sacred Heart Chapel. Specifically, it will help to cover the costs of adding air conditioning to the Chapel, finally making it comfortable and usable for all 12 months of the year.

Howard Phillips’ love for history was one reason this grant opportunity caught our attention. For some, history is just something to be learned in a classroom.  But for Mr. Phillips, it was much more. He had an ongoing love for history. He collected historical artifacts from all over the world.  He also had a treasure trove of memorabilia from several generations of his family. The work and restorations on the Sacred Heart Chapel will enable guests and visitors to enjoy its beauty and history year round, for generations to come.

Mr. Phillips was a faithful Catholic throughout his life. His home in Kensington, Maryland was filled with Bibles, old and new, rosary beads, crosses, and literature from his local church.


Eileen McDonnell-Gross, President of Phillips Charitable Foundation, shares her thoughts about Mr. Phillips:

His Uncle and Godfather, Rev Clarence Camillus Barth, was a Passionist Priest who devoted his life to serve others. Howard often supported his uncle in his missions by funding mission trips and supplies. It is in this spirit that the Foundation continue Howard’s support of those in religious orders and fund this project.

The grant also reflects the Foundations commitment to helping those who do so much to help others. The Sisters of Saint Joseph have served the people of Long Island in numerous ways for more than 169 years. The education and empowerment of women has always been their focus.

The Sisters operate three schools for girls in New York, the CSJ Learning Connection for Adult Education, a skilled nursing facility, an organic garden, and Land Initiatives to promote ecological conservation. They also have programs to help incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children. Their impact has long been far and wide.

Adding air conditioning to a historic building is no small endeavor. With a project such as this there is a delicate balance between enhancing indoor comfort and protecting the beauty of the traditional architecture. They’ve chosen a contractor that will help them do just that.

Sister Eileen Kelly had this to say about the recent grant:

The Sisters of St. Joseph are deeply grateful to the Phillips Charitable Foundation for their generous grant. This donation will make it possible for us to install an air conditioning system in Sacred Heart Chapel and provide an environment which is more conducive to the health of all. It is here that the sisters gather daily for prayer and the Eucharist as well as for other liturgical celebrations. We also open this sacred space to others who will now enjoy its peace and beauty in the comfort of an air-cooled atmosphere.

If you’re interested in ways to help or be a part of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood, here’s a link to their Ways to Join Us page.


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