Friday, May 16, 2008
It turns out that our apartment building is directly across the street from a Roman middle school. The name of the school is the Istituto Figlie Della Divina Provvidenza which roughly translates to the Institute of the Daughters of Divine Providence. Despite the name of the school, it appears that it is a coeducational middle school. The Istituto is not as large as the Collegio Romano, but it is, like the Collegio, connected with the Catholic church. The Daughters of Divine Providence, for which the school is named, is an institute of religious sisters. Religious sisters are similar to nuns, but their vows are simple, not solemn. They were founded by Elena Bettini 1832, when she was only eighteen years old. According to their website, the sisters' mission is to extend the tenderness of God to all people by: educating children, reaching the elderly, and reaching families. In the late 1830s, Mother Bettini moved the institute of sisters to Testaccio (our neighborhood). I am not yet sure when the school was built and if its founding is directly connected with the sisterhood or simply named in honor of it, but these are questions that I hope that I will be able to answer in later posts.