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Santissimo Sacramento delle Suore di San Giovanni Battista is a later 20th century convent chapel located at Circonvallazione Cornelia 65 in the Aurelio quarter, near the Cornelia metro station. A picture of the chapel on Wikimedia Commons is here.

Status Edit

This is an impressive building with a civic profile, and is being described online as a church. However, its status is that of a private convent chapel. The local parish is Santa Maria Immacolata di Lourdes a Boccea, but the chapel has no public ministry.

History Edit

The Sisters of St John the Baptist were founded by St Alfonso Maria Fusco at Angri in 1878. They have the nickname Battistine, which causes confusion with other congregations having a similar name.

The Generalate (headquarters) was re-located to here from Santa Maria Assunta delle Suore di San Giovanni Battista in the mid 20th century.

As well as the headquarters of their congregation, on this extensive site the sisters have here a residential care home called the Villa Benedetta and used to have a school called the Istituto Sacro Cuore e San Giovanni Battista. The latter has closed.

The congregation has had a substantial presence in Rome, although it has been withdrawing from some of its commitments. The Italian province of the congregation have a separate Provincialate with a school attached -the Istituto San Giovanni Battista- at Via del Casale di San Pio V 11. Another school of the same name is at Viale Giulio Cesare 108. Yet another large school in Alessandro is continuing under secular management after the sisters withdrew -see Cappella dell'Istituto Sacro Cuore delle Battistine.

Exterior Edit

Layout and fabric Edit

The chapel is based on a ground-plan of a hexagon, slightly elongated along the major axis. It stands over a crypt. There seems to be a longitudinal rectangular sanctuary extension at the back, flanked by a pair of large sacristy blocks

A flat-roofed portico is continued down each side, covering two back entrances, to reach the two sacristy blocks just mentioned.

The walls above the loggia and walkways are of concrete blocks in a dull dark red, separated on all sides by single rows of bricks in stretchers. The vertical bricks, along the sides of the blocks, are white and the horizontal ones, at top and bottom, are in the same dull red. These blocks and bricks are inflling a concrete frame which shows as piers at the corners of the hexagon and beams at the roofline.

There are three horizontal slit windows high up on each side wall.

The roof is pitched in six sectors, and is in patinated copper. The sectors meet at a ring lantern, on top of which is a dumpy little conical spire also in copper which is surmounted by an orb and cross.

Façade Edit

The frontage is monumental.

The convent premises are separated from the street by a wall with railings on top, and this wall is made up of differently sized tufo stone blocks, random ones being bright yellow. It is interrupted by a wide gateway having a portal with a horizontal top, this being in the same stonework and supported by a pair of square piers.

Once beyond the portal, there is a piazza paved in a fish-scale pattern with dark red units outlined in white. This leads to a long stairway which ends in a little patio in front of the loggia. This patio only occupies the zone in front of the single entrance, because to each side of it is a pair of staircases leading down to the crypt which have their entrances at a lower level. At the same lower level, the side walkways run along the sides of the church to its back.

The loggia frontage is occupied by three enormous portals with slightly curved tops, in white concrete. The middle one is larger and slightly higher, so the flat roof of the loggia is on two levels. Inside the loggia, the church frontage is in narrow rectangular cream-coloured tiles applied vertically, and the entrance doors are in patinated bronze.

Just above the entrance loggia there is a large rectangular stained glass window bearing an image of the Sacred Initials (IHS) in glory.

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page for congregation

Info.roma web-page

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