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Cappella delle Benedettine Missionarie di Tutzing is a later 20th century convent chapel at Via dei Bevilacqua 60, in the Gianicolense suburban zone. It is in the west end of the territory, in a location dominated by large religious institutions.

History Edit

The congregation was founded in 1885, as the female branch of the German Benedictine missionary congregation of St Ottlien. The mother house was at Tutzing, in Bavaria (hence the name).

The congregation is notable for having succeeded in establishing monasteries in 19th century missionary territories, in the context of indigenous cultures rather than as serving the interests of colonisers (a major criticism of the Church's missionary outreach before the mid 20th century). The sisters have convents in every continent except Australia and (of course) Antarctica.

A new Generalate or headquarters was erected in Rome in 1970.

The congregation remains fairly large. According to the Diocese (September 2018), it has 1450 sisters in 132 convents. The Generalate houses a community of five, which is larger than those at many Generalates at Rome. Like many other Generalates of female congregations in the city, it now features a Casa per ferie or holiday hotel which is called the Casa Santo Spirito.

Exterior Edit

The convent shares the same attractive parkland site as the defunct convent of the Minim Sisters of Our Lady of Suffrage -see Cappella delle Suore Minime di Nostra Signora del Suffragio. The Korean College with its church of Santi Martiri Coreani is also adjacent, to the south.

The convelt is an unremarkable edifice of three storeys, on a T-shaped plan. The chapel is, however, a separate building and amounts to a full-sized church building (despite having no public ministry).

The plan is square, and the fabric consists of a reinforced concrete frame with red brick infill. The structure begins with four massive vertical slab roof beams forming a square, and supported by twelve slab piers. Four of the latter are in the corners of the square and are set diagonally, and the other eight are in the sides and parallel with them. Then, infill walls are inserted between the piers. Each side has a shallow rectangular bastion in blank brickwork, not filling the entire width between each pair of piers but slightly narrower so as to leave room for a pair of window strips running up the edges of the piers.

There are three of these bastions in each side. The middle front one contains the entrance portal at the end of a covered corridor from the convent, the middle right hand side one has an entrance from the open air and the middle left hand side one has a doorway to a separate, appended sacristy block.

The roof dominates the design. It is a huge, tall pyramid in what looks like green patinated copper. There are three large dormer windows on each side, one for each wall bastion. These are trapezoidal in shape (a triangle with its top cut off), and their roof pitches attach to the main roof.

The extreme tip of the pyramid is truncated, and bears a metal cross finial consisting of a very thin cross supported by four L-shaped struts.

The chapel is surrounded by a portico or loggia, which has a flat roof at the level of the main roof beams. This has three horizontal zones of equal depth, the top and bottom being in white sheeting with the middle one open. The sheeting is supported by thin metal rods -the result is rather ugly.

Interior Edit

The interior shows the red brickwork of the infill walls. The floor is paved in what looks like cream-coloured marble tiles, and the exposed beams and roof panels are in white.

Despite the plan, the layout is traditional with the altar at the far end. This seems to be a rectangular block of grey granite, with a lectern or ambo to match. They stand on a rectangular platform with a single step. The alcove behind (the interior or the middle far bastion) contains the tabernacle, on an inverted half-cone corbel and surrounded by an abstract bronze (?) bas-relief sculpture looking rather like an amoeba.

The vertical window strips have square panes in a greenish glass, while the dormer windows have fenestration made of small vertical rectangular panes mostly clear, with red and yellow ones scattered through them.

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Congregation's website

Convent website

Info.roma web-page

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