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Cappella del Centro Pastorale Diocesano Porto Santa Rufina is a later 20th century former convent chapel at Via dellla Storta 783, in the La Storta zone.

The chapel is within the territory of the diocese of Porto Santa Rufina.

History Edit

The chapel is part of a complex which is a failed Generalate (headquarters) of an active female congregation. It is one of the sadder examples of how such congregations built enormous convent headquarters for themselves at Rome in the mid to later 20th century, only to have them become white elephants as the numbers of sisters declined from the late Sixties onwards.

The one here was erected for the "Franciscan Sisters of Dilingen" (Dillinger Franziskanerinnen) in 1241. This began as a sui-generis convent of Third Order Franciscans influenced by the Beguine movement, and which became valued by its town of Dillingen an der Donau for the sisters' work of teaching girls.

For most of its history the convent was on its own, but it spawned a congregation in the 19th century as missionary activity was entered into in the USA, Brazil and India. The sisters also founded other convents in Germany in response to major social needs and a plentiful supply of vocations.

In 1967, a project was entered into to found a new Generalate (headquarters) in Rome to replace the mother-house in Dillingen. The architect was Silvio Galizia, and work was completed in 1970.

This project proved disastrously mistaken. It was part of a surge of naïve optimism among consecrated religious (as well as others) following the Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church, but already in 1968 there was evidence that the flow of vocations was lessening.

The congregation decided to abandon the convent at the start of the 21st century. Fortunately the local diocese, Porto Santa Rufina, was in need of a pastoral centre and was unable to fund the building of one. The sisters hence were able to sell the complex to the diocese (having to write off a major capital sum, apparently) and the Pastoral Centre was opened after renovation.

Appearance Edit

Silvio Galizia's buildings are known for their unusual forms and innovative shapes created by poured reinforced concrete. This former convent is no exception. It is located in an entirely rural location, and consists of five wings arranged like an angled P around a trapezoidal courtyard. The chapel, on a rectangular plan, flanks one of the courtyard ranges. It has a roof that slopes upwards sharply from back to front, and also twists so that the front roofline slopes down from left to right.

Online photos of the chapel exterior don't exist, unfortunately.

External links Edit

Web-page of diocese

Info.roma web-page

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