Cloister of Sant’Onofrio

July 7, 2008 / Local Interest

At the top of a small stairs climbing the Gianicolo Hill is a lovely off the beaten path sanctuary-now-church.

The cloister of Sant’Onofrio is now the home of the Third Order of the Franciscans, the only Catholic order to be incorporated in its entirety from the Protestant Church about 100 years ago in the U.S.

As important as its ecumenical mission is, the Order is oddly based in a church named for one of history’s most famous loners. Saint Onofrio’s solitary life in the wilderness is probably full of blanks, but you wouldn’t know it from the cloister. Painted in every lunette under the cloister arches, and annotated in both Latin and Italian, we see and read how this hirsute hermit was baptized by fire and left home as a toddler to wander for the rest of his life, with only his long locks to cover him. Remarkable instance of someone who lived “off the grid”.

Lisa Finnerty

by Lisa Finnerty

Founder of Secret Gardens Italy,, a tour company of the grand and historic Italian gardens, and, a social network for gardeners.

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