Cappella delle Suore Missionarie dello Spirito Santo is a mid 20th century former convent chapel at Via della Camilluccia 603 (NOT 591) in the Della Vittoria suburban district.

The status and future of the chapel are both uncertain. The writer thinks that it has been deconsecrated.

History Edit

The "Missionary Sisters of the Holy Spirit" (Suore Missionarie dello Spirito Santo or Sœurs Missionnaires du Saint-Esprit)were founded by one Eugénie Caps at Farschviller in northern France (near the German border) in 1921. The intention was to found a female branch of the Spiritans, and to undertake missionary work especially in those former German African colonies annexed by France after the First World War.

As was the fashion at the time, the congregation built a huge new headquarters convent at Rome in the mid 20th century. The architect was Silvio Galizia, and the project was completed in 1958. This was one of the earliest works at Rome of this important modernist architect, post-dating by two years Santa Monica degli Agostiniani which was his first.

After the decline in vocations that afflicted almost all Roman Catholic religious orders in the latter 20th century, many active female congregations in Rome converted their large Generalates into holiday hotels (case per ferie) which provide them with very useful income. This one was unusual in deciding to sell up and get out of Rome instead -they have no presence in the Diocese now, and the Generalate is back in Paris.

The premises were sold to a boarding school called Collegio Romano Santa Croce (nothing to do with Opus Dei, apparently), but this is now also defunct.

The complex was purchased and renovated by an obscure firm called Castelli di Roma S.p.a. The writer has not been able to discover what now goes on here, and what has happened to the chapel.

Apperarance Edit

The chapel is a large edifice on a rectangular plan, attached to one side of the large L-shaped four-storey main block and standing over a crypt. It has eight nave bays, and a slightly narrower sanctuary bay. The main former convent building abuts on the far side of the right hand side wall.

The fabric has a reinforced concrete frame, with pink brick infill. The bays are separated in the side walls by gullies or fillets edged with red bricks. Each bay wall has a square aperture at its base, looking onto an internal corridor running up each side.

The most striking feature of the building is the roof, which demonstrates the architect's love of unusual forms which he was going to demonstrate more fully in his later buildings. The corners of the roof are flat, but the roof itself is dominated by a saucer dome occupying its full width, of a shape created by taking a deep parabolic curve on the far side and combining it with a shallow hyperbolic curve on the near side. Low but wide lunette fenestrations occupy the near end (where it is angled to throw natural light on the sanctuary), the far end and also at the left hand corner.

External links Edit

Congregation's website

Info.roma web-page

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