In Rome, not far from the Vatican, there is a Gothic church that houses a very special museum. Enthusiasts of mysteries cannot miss a visit to the Museum of the Souls of Purgatory, which is located inside the Church of the Suffrage, on Lungotevere Prati 12.
The small museum, located in the sacristy of the church, contains documents and testimonies that would prove the existence of Purgatory. The church is also known by the nickname “small Milan Cathedral” for the neo-Gothic style that characterizes it, very rare in Rome.
The history of this church has origins in France. At the end of the nineteenth century the missionary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – Victor Jouët – a native of Marseille, founded the Association of the Sacred Heart of Suffrage of the souls in Purgatory in Rome, with the aim of spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Madonna.
The association’s first oratory was located in Via dei Cosmati; afterwards a second oratory was built on Lungotevere Prati, on a land purchased by the founder for the construction of the church. The first stone was blessed in 1894 by the bishop of Marseille Joseph-Jean-Louis Robert.
The construction of the church began in 1908 on the project of the engineer Giuseppe Gualandi, who was inspired by the French Gothic style. The building was completed and blessed in 1917.
The Museum is in a room adjacent to the sacristy of the church. The museum was set up by the French missionary Victor Jouet, following a mysterious event that occurred during a fire, which developed inside the church: between the flames that enveloped the chapel the priest and some believers saw the appearance of a suffering face, then left imprinted on the wall of the altar. This face is still visible today in a photographic reproduction inside the museum.
From that moment the French missionary decided to devote himself to the search for other testimonies of this kind, around the world.
Thus began the collection of relics, which over time became a truly fascinating and mysterious collection, rich in evidence of the afterlife of the dead and their contacts with living relatives. It will be possible to observe handprints, fingerprints, burning and suffering faces closely imprinted in clothes, sheets, tables or walls, left to invoke the attention of the living towards the souls in Purgatory and even an ancient banknote, which, it is said, came left by a priest inside a Church to solicit Masses of suffrage for his memory.
Fragrance Tour offers the “Rome Open City” Treasure Hunt to discover in an original way places of worship of different religions, famous and less known around Rome.
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