A La Salette Chapel to Remember

In my many visits to our house in Rome, I often wondered what the chapel looked like in our original Scholasticate (for graduate students in Philosophy and Theology) in Rome used from the early 1930s to 1950. Recently after having gathered and scanned many visuals from our Rome Archives, I now have an idea – in black and white – of what the chapel and its paintings looked like. I hope you enjoy our journey into the past.
Our new chapel (above, left) was housed in the Scholasticate on Via Cavour (above, right: façade).

The information and descriptions basically come from La Salette Fr. Pietro Rampietti’s article, “Roman Madonna”, published in Our Lady’s Missionary in March of 1947 (pgs. 79-84). Fr. Rampietti describes: “On the wall to the right there are four paintings representing the three phases of the Apparition and the reconciliatory prayer of the Virgin corresponding to which four scenes from the Old Testament are painted on the vault of the chapel, bringing out the similarity in an enlightening and effective way.

(left) Just as Our Lady of La Salette weeps for her children who have forsaken her Son;
(right) so too does Rachel in Rama lament over the loss of her children:


“In Ramah is heard the sound of sobbing, bitter weeping! Rachel mourns for her children; she refuses to be consoled for her children — they are no more!” (Jer 31:15).


(left) At La Salette Mary exhorts us to submission to prayer and Lenten penance;
(right) Judith saves her people by bringing them back to God’s law.


“When (Achior, commander of the Ammonistes, enemies of Israel) came and… threw himself at the feet of Judith in homage… the people cheered loudly, so that the city resounded with shouts of joy. Now Achior, seeing all that the God of Israel had done, believed firmly in God. He circumcised the flesh of his foreskin and he has been united with the house of Israel to the present day” (Judith 14:6-7,9-10).


(left) Ascending into heaven, Mary does not cease to intercede for us;
(right) Esther pleads before King Assuerus and wins the salvation of her people:


“So the king (named Assuerus)…went to the banquet with Queen Esther. As they were drinking wine, the king said to Esther, ‘Whatever you ask, Queen Esther, shall be granted you. Whatever request you make, even for half the kingdom, shall be honored.’ Queen Esther replied: ‘If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, I ask that my life be spared, and I beg that you spare the lives of my people’” (Esther 7:1-3).


(left) Mary as Mediatrix and reconciler withholds the arm of her Son;
(right) the rainbow of reconciliation appears as Noah offers sacrifice to God.


“God said (to Noah and his children): This is the sign of the covenant that I am making between me and you and every living creature with you for all ages to come: I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth” (Genesis 9:12-13).

Untitled-6(left) domed ceiling of Sanctuary; (right) rear exit of chapel

On the rear wall near the commemorative tablet there is expressed the concrete realization of the final words of the great Marian message of La Salette: "Well, my children, you will make this known to all my people" in the apostolic works of the Missionary Fathers, Sisters and Brothers throughout the world.

Fr. Rampietti concludes his explanation of the theology of the La Salette Chapel on Via Cavour in Rome by saying:


“Reconciliation seems to be the most salient and evident characteristic of the Apparition at La Salette; so true is this that from the very beginning, the Madonna of La Salette has been invoked under the title of "Reconciler of Sinners." …Mary is our Reconciler with her Divine Son!

“It remains true that we have only one Mediator with the Father, Jesus Christ, but as St. Bernard well observes, if we have sinned against Christ, who will reconcile us to him if not Mary? She is the bridge between Divinity and (humanity); the mystical rainbow which in comparison to the one which appeared after the flood is the sign of pardon, of reconciliation and of alliance.”

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