This pretty little pink church faces a quiet canal in Dorsoduro. It was founded along with a convent in 1693 by a group of Augustinian nuns from the nearby church of San Trovaso. Its full name is Gesu, Guiseppe e Maria delle Eremite (Jesus, Joseph, and Mary of the Hermits), and “hermits” in this case is a reference to nuns who lived lives of complete seclusion and prayer, often in small cells inside churches.
The church and convent were closed by the French in 1810 and then taken over in 1863 by Canossian nuns, an order that educates young women. Today this order runs a teacher training college in the former convent with 90 rooms for female university students.
I’d love to see the inside of this church – various books report that the interior is richly decorated and quite a contrast from the simple facade. It’s one of those churches made for nuns, with a high altar that separates the public part of the church from the section where the nuns could come to church but remain unseen. There’s a photo of the church’s very ornate ceiling on the Canossian order’s website. The church has a large 15th century gilded wood relief of the Madonna della Misericordia. I found a photo of it on the web~
It’s currently closed for restoration – the upper window is covered with plastic, and you can also see the water seeping up the façade. A brief mention on the UNESCO website says, “The Church of the Eremite took another small step towards being able to reopen with the completed restoration of four wall paintings depicting the Miracles of St. Augustine by Francesco Pittoni with finance being provided by the Venice in Peril fund.” That “small step” was in 2002, and I don’t know what’s happened since then. Maybe this one will reopen in my lifetime!