In Lungotevere Prati, in the rione of the same name, stands the unusual neo-Gothic style religious building, completed in 1917 to a design by the Bolognese architect Giuseppe Gualandi.
The elaborate and candid architectures, apparently marble, actually conceal a reinforced concrete structure, made up of prefabricated modules and then assembled.
The façade is characterized by niches, arches, statues and many spires, which is why it is commonly defined as the "little Milan Cathedral". The intimate atmosphere interior has three naves, very high pointed arches, and a characteristic herringbone red Veronese marble floor. The polychrome windows create suggestive lighting effects. On the altar is the splendid altarpiece Sacred Heart of Jesus and Souls in Purgatory, the work by Giuseppe Catani, surmounted by stained glass windows with evangelical scenes.
The church was commissioned by the French priest Victor Jouet, founder of the Association of the Sacred Heart of Purgatory souls' suffrage. On the site of the current church, there was a chapel dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary, destroyed by a fire in 1897. The painting on the altar was spared from the fire. According to tradition, the priest and many believers saw a suffering face in the flames. The fire left behind the image of the human face, enigmatically imprinted on the wall,
A singular collection, housed in a room adjacent to the sacristy, was born from the mysterious event: the small Museum of the Souls of Purgatory. Here are extraordinary footprints, original or photographed documents, manifestations and signs of all kinds collected by Father Jouet, who decided to travel around Europe in search of proof of the afterlife and their contacts with living relatives.
Photo credits: Chiesa del Sacro Cuore di Gesù, detta del Suffragio Official Website
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