Key to Umbria: Terni

Monastero di Santa Teresa (1618) and

the Chiesa di San Giuseppe (1642)

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A noble lady called Artemisia Benaducci founded a nunnery here in 1618, and affiliated it to the new order of reformed of discalced Carmelites.  Don Angelo Tramazzoli , the priest of San Giovannino, gave her his support, and his nieces Caterina and Lucia Tramazzoli joined the nunnery in 1626.  Caterina Tramazzoli became Sister Maria Eletta di Gesù.

Father Domenico di Gesù e Maria, the general of the discalced Carmelites, was close to the Emperor Ferdinand II and played an important part in the programme to establish reformed religious orders in Austria after the defeat of Calvinism.  In 1629, he arranged for the young Sister Maria Eletta di Gesù to leave for Vienna to found a new nunnery there.  She became its prioress in 1638, and subsequently founded related nunneries at Graz and Prague.  She died there on 11th January 1663.  The process for her canonisation opened in 1925 but is presently suspended.

The nuns built a new church, which was dedicated to St Joseph, in 1642.

The nuns were forced to leave in 1810 but their prioress, Madre Vittoria Bargagnati (a cousin of Pope Leo XII) kept in touch with them.  She managed to form a new community at Ronciglione in 1827.  This community had an interesting history, which included 30 years at the papal palace at Castel Gandolfo.  They returned to Terni in 1906 but were forced to leave when their new nunnery near Ponte Romano was destroyed in the bombardment of the Second Wold War.  In 1974, they opened the new Monastero dei Santi Giuseppe e Teresa south of Terni.

The first nunnery was used as a barracks from 1810.  It too was damaged in the bombardment of the Second Wold War and subsequently demolished.  The site now houses a car park and a market.

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