Cenacolo Cuore di Gesù is a mid 20th century convent and public chapel or church, dependent on the parish of Santa Maria della Presentazione. It is located at Via dei Casali di Torrevecchia 11, in the suburb of Torrevecchia. Part of the same convent complex has a separate free-standing chapel, at Via di Torrevecchia 684.
The dedication is to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Pie Suore della Redenzione was founded at Cagliari in Sardinia in 1939, their aim being the redemption of prostitutes. The headquarters was moved to Rome in 1949, and set up in the Villa Mater Admirabilis at Via della Pineta Sacchetti 229.
A massive project was then entered into, to build a large double convent complex in Torrevecchia. A large site was purchased in the angle between Via di Torrevecchia and Via dei Casali di Torrevecchia.
The western part of the site, fronting on the latter street, was to be an enclosed convent (amounting to a monastery) for former prostitutes to lead a contemplative life of prayer. Back then, it was difficult for such women to enter the more main-stream congregations of nuns. The eastern part, on the Via di Torrevecchia, was earmarked for a separate institution, a "house of formation" or noviciate.
The contemplative monastery fronting on the former street, with a large chapel or church often referred to as the Chiesa del Cenacolo, was completed in the mid 1950's along with the noviciate which is called the Casa Santo Spirito. This was joined by the Generalate when it moved from the Villa Mater Admirabilis, and which is now called the Casa Mater Divini Amoris.
The nuns have been allowing the local parish to use their chapel as a public Mass centre. The Casa has its own chapel, which is not public but has an architectural presence and so is described below.
Chiesa di Cenacolo Edit
The Cenacolo Cuore di Gesù is on the plan of an L, with two two-storey red brick blocks. The end of the shorter wing fronts the street behind the enclosure wall, and the other two sides of a rectangular cloister are formed by two arcaded walkways or ambulatories. The concrete roof covering these two walkways follows the shallow archivolts of the arcades, and you can see the wavy line of its longer side from the street.
The church or chapel is a separate structure, to the west with its main entrance facing the street. It is a tall single-naved red brick edifice, on the plan of an elongated hexagon which is almost rectangular. The walls are blank brickwork, with the bricks not being trimmed at the obtuse angles so that they leave a dentillate pattern at the corners.
The roof has deep concrete eaves, interrupted by large gables occupying the two ends (entrance and altar), and three smaller ones occupying each of the cardinal sides already mentioned. These gables are filled by triangular windows, the side points of the triangles being cut off by the eaves.
The roof itself, which is in metal sheeting, is doubly pitched from the major axis and has a slight hip at each end. Subsidiary triangular pitches cover the side gables, running back to the ridgeline.
The entrance frontage has a floating concrete canopy over the single entrance, above which is a very large, tall rectangular window which run all the way up to a concrete block immediately below the eave. This block bears a stylized representation of the bust of Christ in glory, and the window is protected with a metal bar grid.
Cappella della Casa Mater Divini Amoris Edit
The Generalate of the congregation occupies the eastern half of the site, and is a separate complex from the Cenacolo. Its address is Via di Torrevecchia 684.
This is impressive architecturally. The street frontage is occupied by the enclosure wall, behind which is a garden. Two identical concrete-framed red brick blocks face each other at the sides of this, each having four storeys with the top storey forming a belvedere which overhangs slightly. At the far end of the garden, facing the gateway, is the free-standing chapel.
The chapel has an octagonal plan, and stands over a crypt so that the entrance is approached by a flight of stairs. The walls are in red brick, and stand on a concrete plinth each side of which has a large lunette window lighting the crypt. Concrete piers occupy the corners of the main structure, and support a conical roof of eight pitches covered in greenish metal sheeting. The roof overhangs slightly, and at its tip is a little octagonal lantern with a rectangular window in each side and its own little cupola echoing the main roof.
The walls have a protruding string course in brick, on which stand two windows in each side. These have slightly curved lintels. The entrance side has its doorway inserted between its pair of windows.
Compare this edifice with Santissimo Crocifisso a Torrevecchia, in the neighbourhood. The architect is obviously the same for both. Who?
Mass is celebrated publicly in the Chiesa:
Weekdays 7:10 (7:30 in summer);
Sundays and Solemnities 10:00.
The chapel of the Casa is not public.
(The congregation has a surprisingly poor Internet presence.)