Loyola's Peal of Bells
Some facts about our bells
The bells that hang in Madonna della Strada Chapel are rung in two distinct ways:
1) Swinging. A motor moves the bell back and forth until the clapper strikes the inside surface of the bells. This produces a random sound and also is the loudest way to play the bells.
2) Hammer Strike. This is a hammer that strikes the outside of the bell. This system is used for chiming the quarters (every fifteen minutes) and hour. Our bells have their own unique melody that rings at quarter past, half past, quarter until, and on the hour. This melody is called “Madonna Quarters” and was composed by Steven Betancourt.
Some facts about our bells:
- They are made of bronze, which is roughly 80% copper and 20% tin.
- Bell one, the largest bell, weighs 1,990 pounds and is named Ignatius, in honor of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. It is 44.5” in diameter, or a little over three feet wide at the base! It sounds the lowest pitch of the four bells, which is F. This is the bell which counts the hours.
- Bell two weighs 836 pounds and is named Cecilia. She rings and is given in honor of all the couples that have married in Madonna della Strada Chapel. The bell is 33.5” in diameter, and sounds the pitch B flat.
- Bell three weighs 583 pounds and is named James, in honor of Fr. James Mertz, SJ, whose legendary vision and courageous hard work made our beautiful chapel a reality. Worshippers gave the bell in Fr. Mertz’s memory. The bell is 29.75” in diameter and sounds a very pure pitch of C. This is also the single bell that swings to call people to weekday Mass.
- Bell four weighs 407 pounds and is named Joseph, in honor of Saint Joseph Pignatelli, SJ, the Jesuit responsible for the Restoration of the Jesuit order in 1814. The Jesuit Community at Loyola University have given this bell in Fr. Pignatelli’s honor. The bell is a little over two feet in diameter at 27” and sounds the pitch D.
- Some other facts:
- Bells are cast in families, so all four of our bells were cast together at the same time to ensure that their sound is in harmony with each other.
- Groups of bells are known by the number in the group:
- PEAL: 3-5 bells (this is ours!)
- RING: 5-12 bells
- CHIME: 8-22 bells
- CARILLON: 22 to 56 bells