Chicago Heights Chapel Lends Support to St. James Patients

Born out of the dreams of a longtime St. James doctor, the Divine Mercy Chapel is entering its fifteenth year in existence.

The sound of an ambulance siren passes by a small chapel near the crossroads of America. Homewood volunteer Patrick Ambler folds his hands and begins the routine.

"We pray for everyone who passes by in an ambulance," said Ambler. "If you need prayer, I will add your name to my list. I want people to come and experience the Lord."

For years, the former U.S. Railroad Retirement Board member has put in countless hours volunteering at the chapel, praying up to six hours a day.

Divine Mercy Chapel began as a dream by 40-year St. James staffer Dr. Raul Delgado. He wanted people to have a place to pray for loved ones at the hospital.

In 1998, with the help of his son, Oscar, Delgado financed and furnished the chapel on the grounds of St. Agnes Church. He says it was part of a divine mission.

"Every hour, people are praying for anybody that dies,” Oscar Delgado said. “There are always people that are sick, so we wanted to have a Divine Mercy chapel next to St. James Hospital for people to go and pray for loved ones that are sick."

In 2005, the Delgado’s found themselves needing the chapel as Oscar's mother battled cancer at St. James. They say the chapel helped them cope with the difficult situation.

"I was able to come here while she was at St. James," Oscar said. “She died 50 yards away. The personal experience of praying for one another ... this came full circle for me."

The efforts have been worthwhile, according to Ambler, who says several miracles have already been associated with Divine Mercy Chapel

"A child who had a brain tumor fully recovered," Ambler recalled. "Another miracle was a baby that had a hole in her heart. When they did the surgery the doctors found no hole."

Even on days when there are no miracles, Ambler continues praying.

"There is no better way to spend your retirement than to pray for others," Ambler said. “I have a definite purpose in life.” 

All are invited to visit the Divine Mercy Chapel at St. Agnes. It opens every day until 9 p.m. A 3 p.m. Divine Mercy Chaplet prayer is held daily.

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