Madonna Della Strada

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Madonna della Strada
Virgen del Buen Camino S.J.jpg
Location Italian Rome in the 5th century
Date 10 May
Shrine Church of the Gesù
Patronage Society of Jesus
The original painting of Madonna Della Strada, hanging in the Church of the Gesu in Rome

Madonna Della Strada or Santa Maria Della Strada — the Italian for Our Lady of the Way, or Our Lady of the Road — is the name of an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, enshrined at the Church of the Gesu in Rome, mother church of the Society of Jesus religious order of the Roman Catholic Church and is a variation on the Eastern basilissa (imperial) type of icon.[1]

The Madonna Della Strada is the patroness of the Society of Jesus. Its founder, Ignatius of Loyola, was said to have been protected by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary during battle in his service as a soldier.[2]


The name goes back to a shrine established in Rome in the 5th century by the Astalli family, originally known as the Madonna degli Astalli, at a crossroads along the ceremonial route of the popes.[1] The 13th-14th century fresco (a wall painting done on damp plaster) was originally painted on the wall of Saint Mary of the Way in Rome, the church of the Jesuit priests, given to Saint Ignatius by Pope Paul III in 1540.[3]

In 1568, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese erected the Gesu Church of Rome, the mother church of the Jesuits, in place of the former church of Santa Maria della Strada. The fresco was moved there in 1575 to a side chapel where Jesuits pronounced their vows. Sometime in the 19th century, the image was transferred to canvas and affixed to a slate panel.[1]

Altar of Madonna Della Strada

The icon is located between two altars, the first dedicated to St. Ignatius, the second, the main altar of the Church, dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus.[4]

The icon was restored in 2006, revealing at least two layers of previous paint, the original art being a fresco which had been detached from a wall and affixed to canvas.[5]


The Jesuits celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Way on May 24. [6]

There is a chapel dedicated to Madonna Della Strada at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois,[7] at the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania,[8] and at Zilber Hall, Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[9]

A copy of the image hangs in the Le Moyne College Chapel.[10]

The Society of the Lady of the Way is a secular institute in Vienna, Austria that follows the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola.[11]

See also[edit]



  • Almagno, R. Stephen, O.F.M. Editor. Mary Our Hope: A Selection from the Sermons, Addresses, and Papers of Cardinal John J. Wright. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1984. 158f.