• image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
Monday, 11 May 2015 15:13

Adoration leads to divine design

Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Sr Mariella Mascitelli pddmArchitect Mariella Mascitelli pddm is a Sister of the Disciples of the Divine Master who specialises in Church and liturgical design and concerns herself with how the design draws people to Jesus in prayer.

Architect Mariella Mascitelli designs her buildings using a unique creed: objects of beauty help the spirit find the Lord, who is true beauty.

Mariella is a Sister of the Disciples of the Divine Master.

She is an Australian-born religious woman with architectural qualifications specialising in Church and liturgical design. She has worked with her fellow sisters on church renovations and building churches from the ground up in Australia and across the globe.

“When I enter a church, if I were looking at it as a lay architect I would be concerned with the architectural and aesthetic features of the building, but as a consecrated woman the first thing I see is whether Jesus is perceived in this church – when a person enters can they see Jesus is alive in this church; is it drawing me to prayer,” she says.

Sr Mariella was in Adelaide in March visiting St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, which is undergoing renovations associated with the installation of a 1927 Casavant Frères pipe organ.

She was born in Sydney to Italian migrants who returned to Italy when she was 14 years old. After completing secondary school in Italy, she studied economics and by age 24 had joined the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master, based in Rome. Soon after joining, Sr Mariella completed a degree in architecture and engineering. From there her vocation flourished.

“I am an architect that works with the needs of the liturgy always foremost in my mind,” says Sr Mariella. “The building needs to be functional and beautiful to enhance the liturgy,” she says. “So the architecture is the servant of the liturgy.”

Her order is one of the 10 congregations founded by Blessed James Alberione, including the Daughters of St Paul and the Pastorelle Sisters which have a presence in Adelaide. The work of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master is to offer perpetual adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, the design of liturgical spaces to enhance worship and prayer, and the care of priests.

Sr Mariella spends four hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament each day. It’s how she gains inspiration, she says. “For us disciples of the divine master, everything is born to us from adoration of the Blessed Sacrament,” she says. “The Lord draws us to him and what comes from our hands is informed by His love for us.”

The religious order runs the world’s only all-in-one workshop, lab and consultancy agency from Rome for the building, furnishing and decoration of churches and places of worship. Just south of Rome, lay people and sisters are among the dozens of artisans working on sculptures, architectural design, mosaics, stained glass windows, furniture and all matter of liturgical objects.

Last year Sr Mariella was the chief architect involved in renovating St Francis Church in Mill Park, Melbourne. She is currently working on conservation works at St Carthage’s Cathedral in Lismore, New South Wales, and a parish church in Hobart.

This article was first published in the May 2015 issue of The Southern Cross, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Adelaide.

Read more about the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master.