Santa Maria Causa Nostrae Laetitiae is a 20th century Fascist-era parish church at Piazza Siderea 1a in the zone of Torre Gaia, south of Via Casilina.
The actual locality is called the Villaggio Breda, after an arms company which built a settlement for its workers here and which donated the land for the church. This was designed by Tullio Rossi, begun in 1939 and opened in 1941 which was the same year in which the parish was set up.
Layout and fabric Edit
The church has a modified basilical layout. There is a central nave of six bays, then a structural transept of the same width followed by a large semi-circular apse which is just slightly narrower. There is only one side aisle, on the right hand side. The left hand side is occupied by substantial ancillary blocks amounting to a convent, although the church has always been in the care of diocesan clergy.
The brick walls are rendered in a very pale yellow. The aisle and apse walls are windowless, but the central nave wall above the aisle has a row of six round-headed windows. The corresponding left hand wall only has five, because of an impinging wing of the convent.
The roofs are pitched and tiled, that of the apse being in two quarter-circle sectors.
There is no proper campanile. A gabled slab bell-cote with one aperture is over the convent frontage to the left of the church.
The church overlooks a piazza, which unfortunately is a grim expanse of asphalt approached from the street by a flight of steps.
The frontage has a large external loggia, and this has three square apertures separated by a pair of squat square piers. These in turn support a tiled roof which is pitched, and also hipped at the sides.
Above the loggia, the main façade of the church has four blind pilasters, two of them on the corners. The corner ones are doubletted, and the inner pair tripletted. They are without capitals, but the entablature they support is posted out over them and in turn supports a triangular pediment, The pilasters are painted in a tan yellow, and the background in the pale yellow colour of the rest of the church. There is a central round-headed window with a simple rectangle and circle design in dark and pale blue glass, and in the pediment is an icon of Our Lady.
The interior is very simple, mostly in a pale yellow. The right hand aisle has an arcade of arches which are unadorned except for thin band imposts in white. The roofs are open, the main one having wooden trusses.
A copy of the famous icon at Santa Maria dell'Archetto is on the apse wall of the sanctuary, with a gilded glory. Above are three four portraits of saints in Gothic frames highlighted in a deeper yellow.
Perhaps the most interesting thing in the church artistically is the set of metal chandeliers in the nave.
Mass is celebrated (parish website, May 2019):
8:30 (not summer Saturdays), 18:30 (not summer, except Saturdays);
Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 10:00 (10:30 in summer), 11:30 (not summer), 18:30.
The church is a centre for Romanian expatriates of the Latin rite. Mass is celebrated for them at 12:30 on Sundays and Solemnities.