Popular devotion to Blessed Anna Maria Taigi and the museum dedicated to her in Rome

The tomb of Anna Maria Taigi in San Crisogono
Photo: pd

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By Antonio Tarallo

ROME, June 09, 2021 / 6:00 PM (ACI Print).-

Roma, Trastevere, the beating heart of the capital. Whoever enters the church of San Crisogono is immediately struck by the magnificent Cosmatesque floor of around 1100. Then, the gaze turns to the sky: a gilded coffered ceiling seems to become – almost by magic – the vault of the sky. The ceiling has in the center a copy of a painting by Guercino, “The glory of San Crisogono”.

But, in this Roman basilica, there are not only these artistic treasures of inestimable value, there are others, of another nature. In fact, in this church there are hidden two spiritual treasures that offer every faithful a richness that is difficult to describe. The first treasure is placed in a chapel in the left aisle, almost near the main altar: is the case where the body of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi lies – lay Trinitarian, beatified in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV – died in Rome on June 9, 1837. The second treasure would seem even more hidden, yet it is found as soon as you enter the church, always in the left aisle. An elegant, sober iron gate gives access to the museum which preserves important relics of the Roman blessed. AciStampa interviewed the vice postulator of the cause of canonization of Anna Maria Taigi, Father Vincenzo Frisullo of the Order of the Holy Trinity, to deepen the beautiful figure of this blessed.

Father Frisullo, Taigi is closely linked to Rome, despite being of Sienese origin. In the Eternal City she lived, and – above all – carried out her mission as a Trinitarian tertiary. Can you tell us about the devotion – on the part of the Roman faithful – to the blessed?

Well, it looks like the Romans really adopted her as their mother! This was already understood shortly after his death, right from the start. His body, before being here in San Crisogono, lay in the Verano cemetery. That place was already a destination – at the time – of pilgrimage for many Romans. They asked her for graces and prayers of intercession. This is what happens today, centuries later, here in San Crisogono. It always strikes me a lot – in fact – how in front of the case that preserves his body there are always flowers and small plants that the faithful leave as a sign of homage. There is even one family, in particular, who comes to visit her every day. They are two young spouses with their little girl, Anna Chiara. I look at them with tenderness because the little girl seems to smile at Taigi, almost as if she were her grandmother. Seeing her play in the chapel where the blessed rests is a precious gift! It is the living and real testimony of how much the blessed grants peace and serenity to anyone who comes to find her.

The story you offer us of this family so closely linked to the Taigi immediately makes us think of the Year of the Family announced by the pontiff, five years after the publication of the apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” on the beauty and joy of love. familiar. It is perhaps therefore important to remember that the blessed was an example how to live the Gospel at home, in the home.

It is true because Blessed Taigi on the theme of “family” would still have much to say today! He lived through the same difficulties of many families today: job insecurity, poverty and much more. But the economic hardships she experienced, however, never prevented her from being generous with the poor who knocked on her door. Nobody left empty-handed. The fraternal sharing with other disadvantaged families was for Taigi a mission that she lived, she embodied deeply in her entire existence. When Pope Benedict XV beatified her, he underlined: “Although her life was so supernatural and hidden in Christ, it was nevertheless not alien to her time but it benefited her neighbor and the entire city community. She was poor, yet she always tried to help other poor people; indeed, in various public and private calamities, inspired from above, she offered herself as a victim to divine justice and with her endless praying she strove to remove punishments from those who had deserved them ”. Blessed Taigi made us understand how the family – if lived in the light of the Gospel – can be school of life and love. A love, however, that does not remain closed in the home, but that spreads from family to family. Love is a virtuous circle. And the Taigi was a beautiful testimony of all this.

You are also the pastor of this wonderful church-basilica. Important relics of the Taigi are kept here. The museum that you Trinitarian Fathers keep is a precious pearl of this church. Can you tell us something about it?

The museum was strongly desired by the Order of the Holy Trinity to pay homage to a special tertiary like her! There are many objects of his house which was located near Via del Corso, near the Odescalchi Palace. In this small two-room museum there are her clothes, there is her kneeler, the Baby Jesus that she kept on display all year round. There is the image of the Madonna in front of which he never did miss a lighted lamp. And then, the inevitable statuette of Jesus of Nazareth, an iconography to which we Trinitarians are particularly attached. Among all these relics, it is a certain effect to be in front of the coffin where his body was found uncorrupted in the 1868 survey. An important object, moreover, is the funerary mask that was used to later build the wax face that covers the face of the blessed.

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