Monday, July 25, 2005

Whither Mater Admirabilis?

From Big Sis (our answer to Marie Hendrickx) comes the weekly Roman dispatch... even though I'm a few days late in writing about it. Par for the course.

One of the Roman orders best known to American Catholics is closing shop at the top of the Spanish Steps. The Religious of the Sacred Heart, who operate the famous Academies across the world -- long the destination of choice for Kennedys and other great luminaries of American Catholic life -- no longer have the nunpower to staff the school adjacent to Trinita' dei Monti, one of the best known churches in the city which presides over Piazza di Spagna (and all its sumptuous shopping hotspots).

According to ZENIT, "The complex will be turned over to the Monastic Community of Jerusalem next year."

But what will happen to their patroness?
"In 1844, Pauline Perdrau (who would later join the order) painted a youthful Blessed Virgin in prayer. Pope Pius IX titled her 'Mater Admirabilis' (Mother Most Admirable) in 1846 and she is the patron of all the schools of the Sacred Heart."
There's no way the nuns could leave that portrait behind -- the Sacred Heart Alumnae would go batty. From across the world, they converge on the Convent every year on the Feast Day in October and have enormous celebrations.

We need The Pro -- eternal champion of women religious -- for an assist. He can get the job done, ensuring that next October, the observance will go forward at Mater's new home: Hyannisport.

SVILUPPO: A distinguished Sacred Heart Alum tells me that, as Mater Admirabilis is a fresco and, therefore, cannot be removed, it will remain in its place on a hallway of the second floor of the Convent of Trinita' dei Monti. In deference to the painting's importance to the history and mission of the current occupants of the complex, staff will be set aside to accomodate the requests of Alumni visitors to Rome who wish to spend time before the image. Still, I'm told, the move has many in RSCJ circles deeply saddened.



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