bell that sits in the Bell Tower at The Canticle was donated to the Sisters in 1902 by James Barry of Clinton,
in memory of his mother, Mrs. Mary Barry.
The bell was taken down when the
original Corbin house was torn down to make way for the new Mount St. Clare
Convent and Academy, and down it stayed until 1958.
When Dane Morgan, architect for
the expansion buildings at Mount St. Clare College, suggested hanging a bell
in a mission style tower above the library-gymnasium (St. Francis Hall), the
sisters planned to use a bell recently donated to them by the Gannon family
of Petersville, Iowa. It is reported that when an employee, Casimir, one of
the Polish immigrants who lived at the college, was asked to bring the new
bell, "he asked in surprise, "Two bells, Sister?" Casimir produced
the original convent bell, buried under accumulations of half a century in
the old coal room of the powerhouse.
The history goes on to note:
"The bell rang for the first time in its new location at Midnight on
January 1, 1960. It was the Sisters' way of saying 'Happy New Year' to the
people of Clinton, and the bell's way of saying, 'I'm glad to be back!'"
the Canticle was built in 1997, a new tower had to be designed and created.
Joan Theiss OSF and Teresa Kunkel
OSF traveled throughout the Midwest, visiting convents, monasteries and
churches, looking for a design that would suit the small space in front of
the building. "We looked at lots of towers," Joan recalled, "and
gathered ideas from family and friends."
She took rough sketches of a metal
tower to Jim Sandry of The Schebler Company in Bettendorf to see if they
could make such a structure. Sandry worked with the firm's architect to
produce the final design.
"The tower matches as closely
as possible the steel framework of the front porch of The Canticle,"
Joan explained. "Jim (Sandry) worked with us to achieve the look and
feel we wanted. The design is simple and open. The round tower reflects the
rounded entryway to the Canticle, and the structure includes benches for
The tower is capped with a cut out
of the Tau Cross that is the logo of
the Clinton Franciscans.
tower was erected and the bell installed in December 2003. The bell first rang on Christmas Day of