Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Basilica of San Frediano in Lucca

Exterior of S Frediano

Chapel of S Zita in S Frediano

One of my favourite churches in Lucca, Tuscany is the Basilica of San Frediano

The Basilica is a Romanesque church. There has been a church on this site since before the sixth century.

The present Basilica dates from the early twelfth century.

Its exterior is dominated by the 13th century mosaic of The Ascension of Christ the Saviour and apostles below. It was designed by Berlinghiero Berlinghieri (active Lucca from 1228 to 1232; date of death before 1236)

There are many artistic features attached to this Basilica. See the parish website here. and the following Tuscan website (in English)

Among the many notable features of the Basilica is the side chapel of St Zita on the right hand side. The chapel seems to be well used. St. Zita (1218-1278) is a popular local saint. It was within this chapel that St Gemma Galgani (March 12, 1878 – April 11, 1903) celebrated her first Holy Communion on 17th June 1887 (Feast of the Sacred Heart), aged 9 years.

She was a parishioner in the parish of San Frediano.

Of this day she later wrote:

""Spuntò finalmente il giorno tanto bramato.... ciò che passò tra me e Gesù in quel momento, non so esprimerlo. Gesù si fece sentire forte forte alla misera anima mia. Capii in quel momento che le delizie del Cielo non sono come quelle della terra.

Mi sentii presa dal desiderio di render continua quell'unione col mio Dio. Mi sentivo sempre più staccata dal mondo, e sempre più disposta al raccoglimento. Fu in quella mattina stessa che Gesù mi dette il desiderio grande di essere religiosa."

One of St Gemma Galgani`s teachers in Lucca was Blessed Elena Guerra (Lucca, 1835 – 1914), the apostle of the Holy Spirit. She was educated from 1889-1893 by the " Zitine" - a sodality devoted to St Zita and founded by Blessed Elena Guerra.