Cappella delle Suore Adoratrici del Santissimo Sacramento is a mid 20th century convent chapel at Via Trionfale 7071 which is in the Trionfale quarter.
Do not confuse these SISTERS with the NUNS at Gesù Sommo ed Eterno Sacerdote, who have almost the same name -Adoratrici Perpetue del Santissimo Sacramento.
The "Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament" (Suore Adoratrici del Santissimo Sacramento) had their remote origins at Bergamo in 1882, when a convent was founded for the primary purpose of Eucharistic adoration. The founders were SS Francesco Spinelli and Geltrude Comensoli. The education of girls was entered into as a means of earning a living and justifying the existence of the congregation in secular law.
Very unfortunately, Spinelli went bankrupt in 1889 and this led to the seizure of the convent's assets as well as a massive argument. He took refuge in Rivolta d'Adda near Cremona with some of then nuns loyal to him, and this meant a definitive split in the nascent congregation. Those left behind in Bergamo with St Geltrude became the Suore Sacramentine (see Cappella delle Suore Sacramentine di Bergamo a Primavalle), while those near Cremona became the Suore Adoratrici.
The latter obtained diocesan approval in 1897, papal recognition in 1926 and final papal confirmation in 1932. Missionary foundations were made in South America and Africa.
The Trionfale convent is the only outreach that the sisters have in Rome, and presently (2018) it comprises a retirement home called the Villa Immacolata and a holiday hotel called the Casa Serena. The Generalate is at the mother house in Rivolta d'Adda.
However, this Rome convent is sufficiently monumental to raise the suspicion that it was one of the many schemes for Roman Generalates indulged in by active sisterhoods in the mid 20th century. Several of these turned into white elephants -if not the majority.
Layout and fabric Edit
The convent is in an attractive garden area with many mature trees. However the complex itself is a complete architectural shambles, having various edifices banged up together with no attempt at overall design. The main convent block is an ugly L-shaped ensemble, flat-roofed with four and five storeys and looking Fifties. The chapel is attached to the end of the four-storey stem of the L, perpendicular to the axis.
This is an interesting and rather quirky edifice, amounting to a full-sized church. having a single nave with five bays and a semi-circular sanctuary apse slightly narrower than the nave.
The fabric seems to be of brick, and the roof is pitched and tiled. The tall apse has its own roof, in three triangular pitches only slightly lower than the nave roof. The latter has three separate pitches on each side, separated by two thin horizontal window strips.
Subsidiary edifices crowd the chapel on both sides, but the exposed walls are done in a pale orange render. There are hints in the design that the above-mentioned annexes are of more recent date. Primarily, each bay has a fairly large round-headed window in each side wall but the near two on the left and all but the far one on the right have been blocked up by abutting structures.
The chapel is fronted by an attractive five-arch arcaded loggia, with thin red-brick piers. This structure has a single-pitched tiled roof, no imposts to the arches and the walling above the piers rendered in a cream colour. The interior is vaulted in red brick, left exposed -a welcome innovation.
The colour is repeated in a large round-headed frontage recess springing from the top of the loggia roof pitch, and this recess contains a brick-framed round window. The rest of the façade is in pale orange. The right hand side melds with an ancillary convent block (accessing the choir gallery), whereas the left hand corner has two steps capped with tiles.
The gable bears a campanile, which has a very large round-headed bell-opening containing two bells, a gabled top and a step in each side echoing the left hand corner of the frontage.
The interior is mostly in white, with a high wall dado in light grey. The bays are divided by transverse concrete arches supporting the roof, which are in dark grey. These arches are not part of an overall reinforced concrete frame, because they spring from wall corbels. They have an oval curve.
The single nave has a choir gallery, containing the organ, inserted into its first two bays. It has a slightly coved solid balustrade. Each side wall of each bay has a round-headed window embrasure, many of which are blocked up. The roof has two parallel window strips running the full length of the church on each side of the major axis, and is otherwise ceiled with wooden planks left unpainted.
The floor is in irregularly shaped marble (?) tiles, laid in a geometric pattern of dull red and yellow.
The apsidal sanctuary is separated from the nave by a screen wall in which a triumphal arch is cut. This has an oval curve, matching the nave transverse arches.
A pair of pale yellow marble columns with block capitals are inserted into cut-outs in the wall flanking the arch -these have no structural significance, by the look of them.
The tabernacle is in the far curve of the apse. It is inserted into a large vertical rectangular bas-relief panel in what looks like brown resin, and featuring angels. The door is inlaid in a cross motif in malachite and what looks like amber.