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Nostra Signora de La Salette

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Nostra Signora de La Salette is a mid 20th century parish and titular church at Piazza Madonna de La Salette 1, south of the Villa Doria Pamphilj in the Gianicolense district. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons are here.


Name Edit

The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The special title of "Our Lady of La Salette" derives ultimately from a series of visions in 1846 of Our Lady at a village called La Salette near Grenoble in France. Hence the name of the church is spelt “de La”, not “della”, and the same applies to the Piazza in the address.

History Edit

The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, founded at Grenoble in 1852, established its Generalate here in 1896. Early in the 20th century a convent complex was built, including a private chapel.

In 1957, the parish was set up. Initially the chapel was used, but this was inadequate and so was replaced by a new church which was completed in 1965.

The church was made titular in 1969. The present cardinal priest is Polycarp Pengo.

Old ChurchEdit

There are actually two churches.

From the piazza, one can see the façade of the former church next to the building of the Generalate, which was founded in 1896. It has a rectangular plan with a circular apse and two side aisles to the nave, and the façade is visible from the gate in the piazza. The body of the church is in brick.

The façade is dominated by a large white rectangular panel, which incorporates the entrance door and which protrudes above the horizontal line of the rest of the frontage. There is a central porthole window, over which is superimposed a large white cross which extends to the door below and to the top of the façade above and spans the panel.

This church temporarily became parochial in 1957, but was entirely inadequate and was replaced by the new church which was completed in 1965. It is now again the private chapel of the Generalate.

New Church, ExteriorEdit

Layout and fabric Edit

The new church, not easily visible from the piazza (it's up the drive on the left), was designed by Vivina Rizzi and Ennio Canino.

The spectacular and complex plan derives from a square, with two three-quarter cylinder extensions on the corners nearest the high altar. Over this is superimposed a shape like that of a club in a pack of cards, which is preserved in the form of the roof and which gives an apse behind the high altar and two on either side. This part of the roof is raised to make room for skylights.

The building is of reinforced concrete, with the enclosing walls in blank red brick.

The soaring detached tower campanile is on a trefoil plan, formed from three unadorned triangular white concrete pillars conjoined.

Façade Edit

There is a monumental and ugly two-storey entrance frontage, situated over a crypt. This is approached by a central staircase, flanked by voids fronting the crypt. The stairs lead to a suspended patio, and they and the patio have concrete slab balustrades.

The first storey is sheltered by a massive flat concrete slab canopy supported by two side walls in brick, but with the ends projecting beyond these walls. The canopy is in the shape of an irregular pentagon, with a very obtuse angle in its front edge. Fitted in below the centre of this canopy is a very odd cylindrical structure, containing a doorway and revetted in limestone slabs. The rest of the first storey frontage is set back behind this, and consists of doors and brick walling below a concrete beam. Between the beam and the back of the canopy is a deep window strip.

The second storey is narrower than the first one, and is rectangular. It consists of twenty vertical window strips separated by concrete mullions. The seven strips to each side have alternate patterns of fenestration -four of them have squares delimited by horizontal concrete mullions in about the middle of each strip, and three have single such bars near the bottom. Each set of seven strips is bounded by the brick wall end at the outer corner, and crowned by concrete slab as the roofline.

The middle five window strips continue the fenestration pattern, except the middle pair which have one horizontal concrete bar cutting across both and hence forming a cross with the central vertical mullion. These five strips rise above the seven on each side, and form the backing for an aedicule. A pair of thin square concrete pillars rise from the top of the canopy, and support a strongly projecting concrete gable with an infilled triangular tympanum which crowns the façade.

This pair of pillars also supports a projecting concrete platform on which stands a statue of Our Lady of La Salette.

New Church, InteriorEdit

The rather shadowy interior is dominated by the curving walls in brick framed by concrete.

The apse contains a large wooden crucifix, and on either side are stained glass windows in dark blue and white with a pattern of geometric shapes evoking the cross.

Liturgy Edit

According to the Diocese, Mass is celebrated:

Weekdays (except Saturdays) 7:30, 9:00, 18:30;

Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 10:00, 11:30, 18:30.

External linksEdit

(BEWARE. Links online to an alleged parish website lead to malware.)

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Info.roma web-page

Beweb web-page

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