The Madonna della Fiducia is a simple little devotional image, painted by a religious sister in the eighteenth century, which has accompanied the Roman Seminary from its first home in the Collegio Romano to its present home at St. John Lateran.

 

Another tradition renders this version: The picture was painted by the great Italian painter Carlo Maratta (1625-1713), who was knighted by Pope Clement XI in 1704 and made court painter by Louis XIV the same year. It is said that the renowned artist gave this painting to a young noble woman, who would become the Abbess of the Convent of Poor Clares of St. Francis in the city of Todi.

Our Lady of Confidence protected the seminarians in times of crisis. She granted them full protection against the scourge of Asiatic flu, which claimed many lives in Rome in 1837, and again some thirty years later. The Madonna's fame grew during World War I when the Roman seminarians, after being drafted into service in the Italian army, gathered in her chapel and made a vow to her before being taken off to war. Only one seminarian returned and the dog tags of the fallen were incorporated into the image as rays around the Madonna and Child. Another version claims: During World War I, when over one hundred seminarians were forced into the armed services of Italy, they placed themselves under her special care. All returned home safely. To repay the goodness of their Queen, the seminarians crowned both Mother and Child with golden bejeweled diadems.

 

Throughout the past, many popes have visited the small chapel occasionally, but John Paul II visited the Roman Seminary and the Madonna della Fiducia every year during his pontificate and Benedict XVI continues with this tradition.

 

 

 

Return to About Mary