The Benedictine Sisters of St Martin Monastery shared the following information about the features of Holy Cross Chapel – from a brochure published in the late 1960s. Features that were updated during the renovations in 2010 are noted.
The chapel is fan-shaped in the plan, and it is wide in relation to depth, to gather the participants closer to the table and focus them on the sacrifice. The space from its broad functional plan is tapered upward from the side wall to the apex on the main axis and from the front upward to the rear of the sanctuary wall. This space thus enveloped and uninterrupted is one room focused on the table of sacrifice.
Its loftiness is derived from the architectural form developed to punctuate the grouping of buildings and to complement its natural surrounding, the foothills of the Black Hills of South Dakota. The interior finishings rely on the natural qualities of the basic building materials used: stone, wood and concrete. The roof structure of boomerang-shaped wood beams and wood roof deck is exposed. It complements the bold concrete paneled frames from which the roof beams are hung and from which they swoop down to the side walls. The walls are of a reddish native sandstone and are laid-up in a polygonal or web masonry joining.
The chandeliers are on the main axis and hung from the apex sixty-five feet from the floor.