The chapel is approached through a processional space comprising a lawn area, reflecting pool, and distinctive bell tower. The lawn area is bordered by six Japanese Katsura trees. The six-inch-deep reflection pool provides a place for people to contemplate the shifting reflections of sky, clouds, and the bell tower. This peaceful setting draws the human spirit to contemplation. A box of wild grasses is set into the pool, as is a rock of black Palisades basalt from Mt. Rainier.
The chapel bell tower rises 52 feet and contains two bronze bells cast in the world-famous bell foundry of Paccard-Fonderie de Cloches, located in Anney-le-Vieux, France. In keeping with Catholic tradition, each bell is named after a saint. The smaller E note bell at the top, weighting 347 pounds and measuring 23 1/4 inches in diameter, is named for St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917), who was the first U.S. citizen to be canonized a saint. She visited Seattle in October 1903 to establish an orphanage, and she founded numerous hospitals, orphanages, and schools throughout the United States and in Central and South America. Mother Cabrini is the patron saint of immigrants.
The larger C note bell, weighing 612 pounds and measuring 30 inches in diameter, is named for Blessed Peter Faber, S.J. (1506-1546). At the age of 19, Peter Faber was the college roommate of Francis Xavier at the University of Paris, and later Ignatius Loyola joined them as a roommate. Ignatius trained Faber in the spiritual life, and he continued this work by leading retreats throughout Europe. Faber was beatified (a formal step on the way to being canonized a saint) on September 5, 1872.