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Cappella di Villa Pacis is a former convent ans school chapel at Via della Camilluccia 565 in the Della Vittoria suburban district.

History Edit

The "Sisters of Notre Dame of Coesfeld" were founded at Coesfeld in 1850 by two lady teachers called Hilligonde Wolbring and Elisabeth Kuling, at a time when laywomen in the teaching profession and the systematic education of girls were still novelties. Their foundation of a religious congregation gave them and their disciples both financial and social security, but unfortunately anti-clerical legislation in 1875 removed the latter as religious were forbidden to teach in public schools. This was the impetus for many of the sisters to be sent to the United States, which was the saving of the congregation. It subsequently spread worldwide.

The official name of the congregation in Latin is Congregatio Sororum Nostrae Dominae (SND -Italian: Suore di Nostra Signora), from the original German Schwestern Unserer Lieben Frau. The English name is "Sisters of Notre Dame" not "Sisters of Our Lady" as you might expect; the odd use of the French title of Our Lady is a United States Catholic tradition, dating from the later 19th century when the congregation became heavily involved in that country.

There are several other congregations with the same or a similar name, and there is serious confusion between then. Notably, this congregation has nothing to do with the "Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur", although the latter helped with its foundation and provided an inspiration. The original foundation was at the little German city of Coesfeld, and the name of this is often used as a distinguishing marker.

The sisters built a large new Generalate (headquarters) in Rome in 1953, the architect being Vincenzo Passarelli. See Cappella delle Suore di Nostra Signora .Many other active sisterhoods with international commitments did the same at the time, and were to regret the spending of the money as vocations dried up towards the end of the 20th century. In response, many of these Generalates have been re-ordered as holiday hotels (Case per ferie), including this one which is now the Hotel Villa Maria Regina.

The same project saw the sisters build a large new school, the Villa Pacis, with its own chapel only a short distance down the road. The same architect was employed. Unlike many other convent schools in Rome, which continue to flourish after their declining congregations handed over administration to secular staff, this one was shut down in 2009 and the property sold.

At present (2018) nothing seems to be going on here -the rumour was that a multi-national company had purchased the premises for a Rome headquarters. If this was so, the intention has been on hold. The chapel is almost certainly deconsecrated, in order to become a meeting hall.

Apperarance Edit

Passarelli provided a chapel for the school which is similar to that of the Generalate nearby. However, there is no civic presence and the chapel is invisible from the street.

The main school building is an ugly four-storey range mostly in a creamy white shade. A single-storey wing in red brick abuts this, and the chapel is embedded in it. It has the plan of an octagon stretched along the major axis, and has its own tiled roof in eight sectors meeting at a low lantern.

External links Edit

Info.roma web-page

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