The Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Notre Dame, Indiana, USA, is a Roman Catholic church on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, also serving as the mother church of the Congregation of Holy Cross in the United States. The neo-gothic church has 44 large stained glass windows and murals completed over a 17-year period by the Vatican painter Luigi Gregori. The basilica bell tower is 218ft high, making it the tallest University chapel in America.It is consistently ranked among the most beautiful university churches in the country and around the world.HistoryThe first churchWhen the University of Notre Dame was first established by Rev. Edward Sorin, CSC,the community held religious services in a small log cabin built between 1842 and 1843. The growth of the institution required a proper church, and it was decided to spend $1500 in building a new edifice. The project was begun on May 25, 1848 and was dedicated on November 12 of the following year. Its solemn consecration took place a year later, on November 11, 1849, by the hands of the Bishop of Vincennes, Maurice de St. Palais. Father Sorin describes the first church: "The style is Greek, with rounded arches. There are three vaults and six columns which produce a very pretty effect. The tribune, which has been built for the use of the Sisters, is elliptical like the sanctuary. It is already enriched with an organ of Mr. H. Erben, and, though a little weak for the church, is one of its most precious ornaments."