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Santa Maria della Porziuncola delle Suore Francescane Missionarie di Gesù Bambino is a later 20th century convent and school chapel at Via Costantino Beltrami 7 in the Ostiense quarter.

The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her aspect of "Our Lady of the Portiuncula".

History Edit

The congregation of the "Franciscan Missionaries of the Infant Jesus" (Suore Francescane Missionarie di Gesù Bambino) was founded at L'Aquila in 1873 as a teaching sisterhood subscribing to the Franciscan charism and wearing the Franciscan habit. They received a formal installation from the local bishop on Christmas Day, hence their name.

They received pontifical status in 1922, after they had established several missionary outreaches. As was usual among such congregations of female religious in the mid 20th century, they established their Generalate (headquarters) in Rome, with an infants' school attached.

The Generalate and school have different addresses, but are on the same plot of land. The former is at Piazza Nicoloso da Recco 13 with its own entrance, but the chapel is accessed through the school entrance.

The school flourishes, but the parish church of Santa Marcella is literally just across the road and one wonders why a separate chapel was built at all instead of fitting out one of the convent rooms as a house chapel.

Apperarance Edit

The convent and school occupy separate multi-storey blocks, either side of a courtyard paved in a fish-scale pattern. The architecturally distinct chapel faces onto this courtyard, on the left just within the school gates.

This is a low rectangular edifice in pink brick, with two well separated vertical rectangular windows in each of the side walls. There is a three-sided sanctuary apse, narrower than the nave. The roof is pitched and tiled, and has a large hip in front running down to the frontage the wall of which is lower than the side walls. The apse has its own lower roof with three pitches.

The frontage has two rows of square windows with white frames, four above and five below.

The most distinctive feature of this chapel, and one which gives it a civic presence, is a small tower campanile in blank brickwork. It is on a transverse rectangular plan, and is attached to the right hand side of the frontage. It has an entrance with a floating gabled porch supported on corbels, and a tiled gabled cap. Three round-headed tunnel apertures at the top hold the bells, one above two -there is no bell-chamber.

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Congregations's website (USA)

Congregation's website (Italy)

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