But behind the monastery’s cloistered walls is not only the sisters’ soap-making business, but a mysterious object that’s part of their greater mission. An object that one researcher called the common denominator between science and religion.
A nearly 400-year-old replica of the Shroud of Turin, Jesus’ burial cloth, long stowed away, is now on public display in the monastery’s sanctuary. The shroud was a gift to the sisters from the Monastery of Monte Mario in Rome, as gratitude for their support during World War I.
The shroud replica was one of two commissioned in 1624 by Maria Maddalena of Austria, the wife of Cosimo de Medici. The replica was placed on the original shroud and as such is now treasured and venerated.