Santa Maria Madre della Misericordia is a mid 20th century parish church at Via dei Gordiani 365, which is in the suburb of Gordiani south of the Via Prenestina. This is in the Prenestino-Labicano quarter.
The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title of Our Lady, Mother of Mercy.
The remote origins of the parish are with a curacy founded in 1937 within the parish of Santi Marcellino e Pietro ad Duas Lauros. This was in response to the growth of a shack settlement lacking basic utilities, inhabited in the main by people made homeless by the demolitions ordered by the Fascist government in the Centro Storico. The main victims of these were poor people who had been living in rented accommodation without security of tenure. About five thousand ended up here.
The original settlement was condemned and demolished towards the end of the 20th century, the inhabitants being moved to suburbs further east. However, part of the site has been replaced by prefabricated accommodation for indigent immigrants, and a much scruffier shack settlement has grown up south of the church. There is a surprising amount of open land around here for a location quite close to the city centre.
The parish is now in the care of diocesan clergy.
Layout and fabric Edit
The church is one of Rossi's least inspiring works.
The edifice consists of a single nave of five bays, the entrance one and the far one being shallower than the three in the middle. The far bay comprises the sanctuary.
The original convent building abuts on the third and fourth bay to the right, and a newer block has been added to the back of the sanctuary and shares the church's axis.
The exterior walls are in dull orange fading to pink, with a string course midway down each side and blind pilasters separating the bays. To the left, the three larger bays have two rectangular windows each but the entrance bay only one. To the right are only four windows, because of the convent block
The church has a single pitched and tiled roof.
A tower campanile is tucked into the far angle between church and convent. This has two storeys above the roofline, the first having a large rectangular sound-hole on each face and the second a shorter one. There is a tiled pyramidal cap.
The church stands away from the street, beyond a convenient car-park. Look for a row of cypresses, which are an interesting combination of large and thriving, and small and dead (2016).
The actual church frontage is completely blank, and is featureless except for the gable tip which is raised as a plinth for a statue of Our Lady. There is an enclosed porch with its own gable roof, also undecorated. The single entrance door is surrounded by wooden panelling in a much larger rectangular portal.
The interior is a simple large room with an open truss roof and whitewashed walls. The rectangular windows now have stained glass.
This is a very ordinary church in a city full of extraordinary ones, and none the worse for that.
According to 060608.com (February 2016), the church is open daily 7:00-12:00, 15:30-20:00.
Beware -the neighbourhood is rough.
The parish has no website now -it's gone 404. According to the Diocese (July 2018), Mass is celebrated:
Weekdays: 7:30, 9:00, 11:30, 18:30;
Sundays and Solemnities: 8:00, 9:30, 11:00, 12:15, 18:30, 20:00.
The Sunday provision as given is unusually generous for a parish of this size, and is probably subject to review. However, the total number of weekly Masses has actually been increased recently.