Sacro Cuore di Gesù all'Aventino is a deconsecrated earlier 20th century college chapel at Via Aventina 2 in the rione San Saba.
The dedication was to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The chapel belongs to a former Roman Catholic college and covent which was sold to a school originating with the Episcopal Church of the United States, which is not in communion with the Catholic Church. The standard Catholic practice in such transactions is for the chapel to be deconsecrated, whether or not it is to be used as a place of worship subsequently.
The Collegio Internazionale del Sacro Cuore was a Roman house of studies founded in 1924 by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Missionari del Sacro Cuore di Gesù).
The Missionaries also had their Generalate at Via Cesare Balbo 1 near Santa Maria Maggiore, and their major devotional outlets at Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore a Piazza Navona and Sacro Cuore del Suffragio. However, in the later 20th century they decided to sell both Generalate and College and move the former to a villa in the Via Asmara.
The Generalate was demolished to make way for a bank building. In 1972, the College was bought by St Stephen's School, an English-language school founded in 1964 in Rome by one Rev John Oliver Patterson. He was an Episcopalian minister who had served as headmaster at the Kent School in the eponymous town in Connecticut, USA.
The chapel was deconsecrated, and turned into the school auditorium.
There is very little available on the original life of this chapel, either online or in print, and not many people in Rome seem to know who built it originally..
Layout and fabric Edit
The chapel amounts to a full-sized church edifice, with a civic profile.
The former college is a compact four-storey convent block, arranged around four sides of an arcaded cloister. The chapel is attached to one side of this, to the right looking from the street. It has a basilical plan, with low side aisles -the left hand aisle is incorporated in the convent wing on that side. Then comes a transept narrower than the central nave, flanked by a pair of little sacristy blocks of three storeys. Finally there is a segmental apse.
The walls are in brick, rendered in a dull orange. The central nave has a gable-pitched and tiled roof, which extends over the transept. The apse roof is much lower, and has a uniformly curved tiled roof which is unusual, because not easy to lay. The right hand side aisle has a single-pitched roof
The former chapel has a separate upper storey above it. The right hand side wall has a large white-framed round-headed window for each of the further five bays of the nave, and above these below the roof is a row of six shuttered windows for this upper storey. The latter is also lit by a large round window in the far wall of the transept, with two round-headed windows below it.
You can see the façade over the school wall. It has an external porch occupying its entire width, with a single-pitched tiled roof supported on four square white piers having imposts instead of capitals. Above, a large round window in a white dished frame is flanked by two smaller ones without frames. Above these in turn is a large white framed round-headed window flanked by two smaller ones set lower down, but these light whatever is above the former chapel.
A cross finial survives on the gable tip.
The chapel is now the school aula or assembly hall, and is all in white. There is very little of interest here now. The former apsidal sanctuary is occupied by a high dais. The aisles are separated by very solid longitudinal rectangular piers, which support an entablature which runs around the interior. The architrave and cornice of this are very thin.