Christ Chapel Memorial Garden


The Christ Chapel Memorial Garden was completed at Gustavus Adolphus College during the fall of 2013. The Memorial Garden is a designated place adjacent to Christ Chapel on the Gustavus campus, overlooking the Minnesota River Valley, where people may reserve a niche for inurnment of their ashes after their lifetime. It incorporates the Luna Moth Matrix and Spirit Vessel sculptures, and includes a columbarium and student memorial area.

 The Memorial Garden follows in the long tradition of people finding their final resting place in the shadow of a church spire. It has also been a way for members of the Gustavus community to remain close to the beautiful hilltop campus that was so meaningful to them in their lives. Since its completion in 2013, over 150 alumni and friends have chosen to make the Garden’s Columbarium their place of inurnment. Money raised through the Christ Chapel Memorial Garden project will support the mission of Christ Chapel.


Reserving space in the Memorial Garden

The Christ Chapel Memorial Garden has capacity for 570 inurnments. Single and double niches are available. 

Memorial Garden Policies 

Memorial Garden Agreement 

Memorial Garden Committal Service 

Memorial Garden Inscription Options 

For more information or to reserve a space in the Christ Chapel Memorial Garden, contact the Advancement Office at 507-933-6512 or

The Christ Chapel Memorial Garden was established through the support of the Phil '58 and Nancy Lindau Family.

More information about a memorial garden and columbarium can be found on the website of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Information on the transporting of ashes can be found on the website of the Cremation Association


Scultures as part of the Memorial Garden

Luna Moth MatrixSculptor Paul Granlund's "Luna Moth Matrix" is a metaphor of the promise of resurrection and renewal. Time and space are combined as the sculptor converts into mass the fluttering of moth wings, which normally happens in time. Movement is suggested in the posture and balance of one wing, suspended in space on its tip. Embedded in that wing is a fetal male figure indicative of the chrysalis state; on the opposite side, the wings carry the impression of an extended female figure implying liberation and flight. The original installation of the sculpture and landscape, completed in 1980, celebrated the memory of Douglas Sandberg '70.

Spirit Vessel

"Spirit Vessel" was created by Sesquicentenial Sculptor Greg Mueller. Vessels, boats, and ships reflect a universal symbol for transporting the soul. This symbolism speaks to the significance of the Gustavus Memorial Garden. The boat form is constructed from recovered Cypress, the “eternal wood” as described by Native Americans because of its natural oil preservative “cypressene” which resists insects and decay. The Vessel's positive and negative layering references the transition from physical to the spiritual. The Vessel is suspended and supported by 4 guardians of weathering steel whose forms draw influence from the hull of a ship’s architecture. Concurrently, the contours of the hull acknowledge the organic line quality Perkins Will implemented in the columbarium design. The sculpture was installed in 2014.