Designed by Patrick C. Keeley, the late nineteenth century’s preeminent designer of Roman Catholic churches, this imposing edifice is poorly served by the urban renewal inflicted on its precincts in the late 1960s. For almost a century it stood majestically at the western intersection of Weybosset and Westminster Streets, and the surrounding small-scale buildings only reinforced its presence. The vast, lifeless plaza designed by I.M. Pei and Zion & Breen is an insulting contrast to the building’s vigorous design. Keeley’s powerful blend of French Gothic form and Romanesque detail is integral to the buildings soaring monumentality, an appropriate architectural statement for the denomination that would become the state’s largest in the twentieth century. In the interior, most of the stained glass is a fine ensemble from Innsbruck’s Tiroler Glassmalerei installed in 1886; windows in the narthex are from Boston’s Connick Associates, installed in 1971, and those in the vestibule are by local artist Peter J. Geisser. The chancel unfortunately suffered a glossy remodeling in the 1960s to accommodate changes in liturgy; the validity of the liturgical revisions, however, is neither reinforced by the poor quality of its design nor its being at odds with the original.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture