PC Blogs

Java in Roma!

coffee in rome2During their semester stay for Study Abroad in Rome, the students are obviously  immersed in “all things Italian”.   While there might be many similarities between Italy and the U.S., the truth is that daily life here can be very different from daily life at home.  Things we take for granted might not even cross the minds of Italians. Conversely, what they consider “normal” is often “strange” or “surprising” for Americans.

coffee in rome

Matthew Tinsley, a Theology Major and Finance Minor from Worcester, Massachusetts, has written a guest blog on the coffee culture of Italy.  Matt confesses to be a “coffee-oholic” at home.  And here he has noticed several differences in the way Italian understand, consume, and celebrate their most preferred beverage.  His reflections are below.

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On a typical morning here in Rome, at around 9:00 A.M., I leave my apartment on Via Cola di Rienzo and head for class. I stop in a “bar” (café) along the way, stand at the counter, and order my coffee: “Prendo un caffè, per favore.” At a typical bar in the city you’ll find businessmen, construction workers, lawyers, policemen­­—people of all professions patiently standing together, enjoying simple conversation and waiting for their coffees. After finishing my espresso, I wave to the workers and continue on with my day. This is the coffee culture here in Rome. It is relaxed, conversational, and it is very much a part of the Roman daily routine.

When I think back to my experiences ordering coffee in New England, I picture this: A long and discouraging line of F-150s, covered in snow and sand, sitting at the Drive-Thru of a Dunkin Donuts. While this is hardly the only way to get coffee in the U.S., let us consider how this image contrasts from the coffee culture here in Rome.

How is the coffee itself different? The translation of “coffee” from English to Italian is “caffè,” yet each word refers to a different beverage. When Romans order caffè, they are really ordering a small cup of espresso. If I wanted the type of coffee that you would typically find at American diners, Dunkin’ Donuts, Honey Dew and so on, then I would have to specify, “caffè Americano”.

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There are many, many ways to take your coffee here. A caffè lungo is an espresso with added water, whereas a caffè ristretto is a stronger, more concentrated espresso. There is the macchiato, which is coffee with milk, and it is served caldo, or freddo, hot or cold. One may order a caffè shakerato, which involves putting coffee and ice cubes in a shaker and serving it in a cocktail glass. After dinner, one might enjoy a caffè corretto, or coffee with added liquor, (typically Grappa or Sambuca). There is also the caffè marocchino, which consists of coffee mixed with chocolate powder. As you can imagine, the list goes on.

Indeed, there are many different types of coffee here in Italy, but in fairness, the same can be said of the U.S. How else could the coffee culture be different in Rome than in the States? I submit that the way people drink coffee here is much different. For example, Italians do not have an easy phrase for taking coffee “To-Go”; you would have to say, “caffè da portare via,” or literally “to take away.”

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I have yet to see a major and dominant chain coffee company in Rome, let alone a “Drive-Thru” option for motorists. Romans prefer taking their time while drinking coffee; they’ll often enjoy a cup while standing at the cafe countertop, reading the newspaper or simply exchanging small-talk with the bartenders. If someone is eating or drinking while walking down the street, it is likely that that person is not Italian.

I have enjoyed observing the differences between the coffee culture in Italy and the U.S. I think this experience has given me a glimpse into the broader cultural traits of each country as a whole.

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Our Lady of the Snows

The record breaking snowfall in New England – measured now in feet rather than inches – has made international news.  Here in the Eternal City, we have certainly not had weather like that this Winter.   However, we did recently visit a place in Rome where it snowed in August!

St. Mary Major

According to a medieval legend, the Basilica of St. Mary Major was actually built because the Virgin Mary appeared to Pope Liberius (352-366AD)  in a dream and told him to  build a church dedicated to her where the snow would fall that night.  The snow Mary promised did appear on the Esquiline hill on August 5th, which is now the liturgical feast of our “Lady of the Snows”.  As the legend goes, the Pope drew in the snow with his staff where the basilica would stand.

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After a lecture on the Gospel of Luke, we toured the basilica which is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God.  Luke’s theology of Mary in his Gospel is highly developed, casting her as a model of discipleship.  Actually built in the 5th century, in honor of the title “Mother of God”, conferred on Mary at the Council of Ephesus in 431AD, this church is the oldest one dedicated to Mary in the West.

“In the 5th century, the declaration at the Council of Ephesus stated that the Virgin was the Mother of God (Theotokos). This pivotal moment in Christian history started the movement to create churches to honor Mary, who is both the Mother of God and of all Christian people.” – Madeleine Veith

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“The site visit to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major fits perfectly with the theme of Luke’s Gospel.  This basilica was built in honor of Mary, the Mother of God, and is a testimony to the essential role of Mary in God’s plan of salvation history.” – EJ Sheehan

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Since medieval times, Romans have believed that the relics of the Manger of Bethlehem or even the whole Grotto itself was transferred into this basilica. The relics are kept under the main altar.  On Christmas morning, a procession of the Santa Culla, the Holy Crib, is held in the basilica.

“Beneath the most sacred part of the Basilica is what is believed to be wooden remnants of the actual crib of Jesus. One might look at this as the womb of the Basilica, which holds a piece of the sacrality of baby Jesus; as one would think of Mary’s own womb holding baby Jesus for nine months.” – Kadene Pitter

“Another attention grabber in the basilica is what some like to believe to be a part of the Holy Crib, or manger, of Jesus. This is interesting, because Luke’s Gospel has a Birth Christology, so Jesus would become the Messiah at his manger.” – Tim O’Connor

The walls of the central nave and the triumphal arch at the end of this nave are decorated with mosaics from the time of Sixtus III (432-440AD), making them the oldest mosaic cycle in Rome.

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This mosaic salvation history cycle is completed by the scenes of the Incarnation and the infancy of Christ on the triumphal arch.

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The apse is decorated with the central scene of the “Coronation of the Virgin”.  She shares the throne with Christ who crowns her as queen of the cosmos.

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“The Basilica of St. Mary Major is itself a testament to Mary’s great faith. In the apse mosaic, in which Mary is seated with Jesus on the same throne, she gestures with her hands towards Jesus, signifying that He is the “main attraction” and that it’s not about her.” – Stephen Beck

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St. Mary Major also contains an ancient icon of Mary known as the Salus populi Romani, which hangs in a side chapel built by Pope  Paul V. This Byzantine-style icon is from the ninth century, but pious Medieval Romans believed it was painted by the evangelist St. Luke. Mary is represented holding Jesus, who is dressed in a golden tunic and holds a scroll. The hands of Mary are crossed in front of her child. One hand exposes two fingers, which is a sign of the two natures of the person of Christ, who is both human and divine.

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Pope Francis has a special devotion to this image of Mary who is the “help and salvation of the Roman people”.  The morning after his election as Pope, he made a special visit to pray in this chapel.  And now every time he travels, he prays there beforehand to ask her intercession on his journey.  Upon his return to Rome, he goes to thank her and usually leaves flowers from the place he has been.

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Go Friars!


St. Francis, St. Clare, and the Franciscan Revolution

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Assisi 9Last week CEA arranged a trip to Umbria for us. We visited the town of Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis and St. Clare, co-founders of the Franciscan Order.

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On the bus ride up to Assisi, I was able to give a brief talk about St. Francis and his remarkable life. We discussed his family life, his dramatic conversion, and his mission to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, and the forgotten.  I told them about his trip to meet the Sultan on a mission of peace and his efforts to heal divisions and reconcile enemies. Finally, we discussed some of the “iconic scenes” of his life which live on in the history and spirituality of the Franciscans.

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As a true reformer, Francis challenged the Church of his day to conform itself more closely to the Gospel of Christ and the ideals of the Sermon on the Mount.  We also discussed the choice of the name “Francis” by our current Pope. Upon reflection, we realized that perhaps we are witnessing in our own day another “Francis revolution” with the preaching and example of Papa Francesco.

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The basilica of St. Francis was the highlight for most of us.  We were able to decipher many of the frescoes that portrayed biblical stories and then had the challenge of understanding the stories of Francis’ life in their context.

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Using our New Testament in the Eternal City course as a backdrop, we could more easily understand the stories of the life of Francis and the birth of the Franciscan Order.

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There is a story – some would day legend – that St. Francis and St. Dominic actually met and became friends.  Their meeting and fraternal charity towards one another is to be a corrective to any rivalry or “unholy competition” between the two religious Orders of Franciscans and Dominicans.  Their encounter has been portrayed in painting, stained glass, and sculpture by both religious families.  (In fact, there is a stained glass window in St. Dominic’s Chapel on campus that depicts it.)

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More than just a way to escape from the “big city life” of Rome, these cultural trips in our study abroad experience expose students to Italian culture, art, architecture, food, and history. The sights and sounds of Assisi and the Umbrian countryside made a lasting impression on everyone who went.

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The fresh air, beautiful sights, good food, and camaraderie reminded us how special the study abroad experience is. Assisi is known as the “City of Peace”.  And it did not disappoint!

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Go Friars!


Foodie Friars in Rome

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P.C. students who come to Rome to study abroad find out very quickly how serious the Italians are about food.  It’s practically their religion! Enjoying Italian cuisine, learning to dine in courses, and even trying out popular Italian recipes are all a part of the cultural experience of Italy. Our students eventually realize that “eating is more than just eating” for the Italians.  I asked the students if they would like to share their experience of food and study abroad.  Miguel Bermudez, a Business Management major with a Spanish minor, from Houston, Texas, took up the challenge.  His reflection is below:

Food in Italy

As we all know, the food in Italy is pretty bomb. There is no doubt about that.  Yes it is true, that the gelato and pizza are delicious- but you would be surprised at how much skinnier Italians are compared to Americans considering how amazing their food is.  With that being said, Italian breakfasts are so different.  Unlike an American breakfast, Italians usually have a cappuccino with a croissant for breakfast and that’s about it (no eggs or bacon, sadly).  With that being said, you get hooked on their cappuccinos considering that they taste so good and only cost 1 euro!


As for lunch, you assimilate to having pizza and pasta almost every day.  There are “pizzerias”, as they are known here in Italy, almost everywhere you go!  Think of Starbucks in D.C. and Dunkin’ Donuts in Rhode Island (if you’ve ever visited) and multiply it times ten to get a good estimate of how many pizzerias there are in Italy.


One of the cool activities that CEA offers here in Rome is a pasta making class.  About 20 of us signed up for it and found out just how interesting and easy it is to make pasta.  Most of us know how to cook pasta but we all definitely learned how to make pasta.  In this case, we cooked a fettuccine type of pasta. The ingredients include an egg and about one pint of flour.  You crack the egg, mix it with the flour, and stir it until you have a nice, soft ball of dough.  After a few minutes of trying to get the ball as smooth as possible, you then flatten it out with the rolling pin.  Lastly, you slice the dough into long and thick strips of fettuccine and cook it how you would normally cook pasta at home.












As delicious, amazing, and outstanding as the Italian food can be, I cannot be away from Mexican food for that long.  I am of Mexican descent and was raised eating my mother’s and family’s one of a kind Mexican dishes.  If you ever tell me that Taco Bell is the best Mexican food that you have ever had and that Chipotle is your life, I will possibly cut you.  Being in Rome, there is one Mexican restaurant named La Cucaracha (The Cockroach) that has the best reviews online and by word-of-mouth.  It might be a horrible name for a restaurant once translated into English but it actually fits very appropriately.  The reason is because la cucaracha is a Mexican folk song that arose during the Mexican Revolution and to this day is very well-known among other Latin American countries as well.  If you are familiar with the group of Mexican musicians known as mariachi then you will realize that this folk song is a classic that is always played.  This restaurant is so busy that you have to call ahead of time to make a reservation if you go there for dinner!


My roommates and I decided to make a reservation and check it out.  The restaurant is located on Via Mocenigo, 10, 00192, which is only a short 15 minute walk from our apartment.  To my huge surprise, we were seated, served, and done eating in about 30 minutes.  What I liked about their menu was that it was divided into Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican food. I ordered green enchiladas from the authentic side of the menu while one of my roommates ordered Tex-Mex enchiladas.  What I will say is that the plates were a bit pricey compared to the small servings that are given.  An average plate costs about 12-14 euros while their delicious margaritas (that Dr. Hagstrom said to “stay away” from!) cost 8 euros.


But even though we paid more than what we ate, the food was still amazing! The workers are nice and they give student discounts. (They are from the same city that my parents are from: Acapulco, Guerrero!)  I would recommend this restaurant to all the Mexican food lovers and I would definitely recommend bringing a hot Italian date here if you ever have trouble thinking of a place to take them!


Go Foodie Friars!








Viva La Repubblica! Viva Italia!

Long live the Republic!  Long live Italy!

With these words the newly-elected 12th President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, ended his inauguration speech earlier this week.  After a very short campaign season and voting process (according to American standards), Mattarella was inaugurated as president on February 3rd.  He succeeds President Giorgio Napolitano, who had served two terms in office.

The day of the presidential inauguration was full of pomp, circumstance, and ceremony. The process is known as the “insediamento” or literally the “seating of the president” –  taking his seat of office – or to put it more ceremoniously,  “enthronement’.  It is full of rituals, flags, and anthems that all symbolize the transition of power to someone new.

Since we had just visited the Roman Forum last week while studying the Roman context of early Christianity, it was difficult not to compare these presidential festivities with some aspects of the ancient Romans’ display, affirmation,  and use of  imperial power.



The Military was, of course, involved at various points of the day, including a cannon salute, wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and a military jet fly over.  There was also a motorcade parade through the streets of Rome when President Mattarella rode in a special car usually used for the June Military parade.

These events reminded us a little of the Roman Emperors riding in their chariots through the streets of Rome or the procession of returning Roman generals parading their spoils of victory under the forty Arches in the Roman Forum when they came home from war.


President Matarella’s visits to the Parliament and Senate, and his taking possession of the presidential palace, reminded us of seeing the Roman Senate building in the Forum and the Rostrum where speeches were delivered and received by the Roman people.  Indeed, being in Rome for these 21st century events of Italian politics helped us to make a connection to what we were learning in the classroom and on-site, while exploring the Roman context of the New Testament.

Roman Senate Forum

Here are a few of the students’ reactions to our Roman Forum site visit:

“Visiting the Forum has been one of my favorite sites because of the history behind the ruins and the ease at which I can grasp its significance.  The additions and restoration of certain parts of the site are interesting because they contribute to the rich history that the location and city represent.” – Miguel Bermudez

“The left over ruins of what was once the Roman Forum are a reliable source available for us to help us better understand the significance of life in ancient Rome since every event of importance took place in the heart of the eternal city… public speeches, trials, elections, ceremonies, funerals, and other public functions.” -Alexa Lombardo


“Formerly known as the beating heart of Rome, where religious, political, and commercial life converged, the Roman Forum and its ruins trace the history of Rome from the time of the city’s development through the Middle Ages.” – Kathleen McGinty

“Our class trip to the Roman Forum was very enlightening and filled with so much ancient history… With monuments like those in the Forum, we are able to learn about the lives and beliefs of those earliest Christians.”  -Caitlin Lehane

Go Friars!




Football, Soccer, or Calcio?


Olympic Stadium, Rome

This is Super Bowl week back home in the States.  Millions of Americans are buying big screen TVs, betting on teams in their office pool, and comparing recipes for their favorite foods, snacks, and dips.  Even if they are not football fans, many Americans will sit down to watch the biggest game of the year.  (Go Patriots!)

Here in Italy, the number one national sport is also football – except it’s called “soccer” or “calcio“. Last weekend a few of our P.C. in Rome students  decided to go on a great adventure by attending an Italian calcio match here in Rome.  Jimmy De Bowes, a finance major from New Haven, CT., shares his experience below:


Lazio and Roma both play their homes games about a mile and a half from our apartment in Prati so attending a game was a no-brainer. Going to an Italian soccer (calcio) game was unlike any sporting event I’ve ever been to. The cheapest way to get tickets was to walk a quarter mile to a Lazio apparel shop that doubles as a ticket office. For anyone going in the future, be careful not to believe the street vendors/scalpers who tell you the game is sold out and try to sell you overprice tickets. You need to show your passport to even get into the shop.”


“Then, once you get to the stadium, they look at your passport and ticket three separate times. But the game was well worth the trouble. We shared our love for soccer with a few local fans sitting near us who spoke Italian and English, which made the environment even better. I was surprised to see they sell hot dogs at the game. A vendor will also walk around to sell you water and boxes of crackers that you would see at the supermarket.”


“Stadio Olimpico is huge and the fans are passionate. The Lazio fans wave giant flags the entire game and set off fireworks and smoke bombs when their team scores. The fans are loud and obnoxious just like they are at American football games, but Lazio fans continue to celebrate long after a goal is scored. Thank God the Lazio and visitor (Milan) fans sit in different sections on different sides of the stadium, because they all have a deep hatred for any opposing team. The die-hard fans sit in a high-demand, sold-out section called Curva Nord. With so much security on site, I’m still confused as to how these fans get flags and fireworks into the stadium.”




“After an early goal in the 4th minute from Milan, Lazio put up 3 unanswered and won 3-1.  Despite the score, it was an intense game with several injuries, cards and a brawl started by soon to be suspended Milan defender Philippe Mexès.” – Jimmy DeBowes.

Of course, Providence College loves soccer.  Last season our Men’s Soccer team won the Big East championship. And a few of our players were recently selected in the 2015 Major League Soccer Super Draft.

 Go Friars!

Let the Adventure Begin!


Providence College in Rome Spring 2015 has gone live!  Our Program has begun its eighth semester of transforming lives with the study abroad experience at the heart of the Church.


Last week, 21 students from Providence College and I arrived in the Eternal City for a semester abroad.  The CEA Rome Team welcomed us with open arms and big smiles upon our arrival and then gave us an intense four day Orientation Program that helped our entry into the Italian way of life and our academic study program.

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 CEA Rome Center


During this first week of introductions, orientations, and new beginnings, I asked the students what they were hoping for from their study abroad experience in Rome.  We talked about why they chose Rome as a destination and what they expected from our Program.  Here’s what some of them said:


“I chose last minute that I wanted to study abroad and heard amazing things about this program. The culture, the food, the people, the sites, the history, etc. Everything I wanted in one program… I have yet to take theology courses at PC and what better way to take them than in Rome?” Emily Rose, Accounting Major

SP155” While in Rome, I want to immerse myself in the Italian culture––  learn the language, the history, and most of all, I wish to learn about how the Church developed in this city.” Matthew Tinsley, Theology Major


“…I chose Italy, because the credits transfer, and why wouldn’t I take my theology/fine arts core in Rome? ” Rory Garrison, Health Policy Management Major


“I have never taken a theology class (besides DWC) so I am really excited to expand my horizons and learn new things.  This semester abroad I hope to meet many new people, whether they be from PC or just any other students in the CEA program.  Already, I have made new friends and met people who are from all over the United States, which I think is very cool.  In addition, I’d like to use this time abroad to really try and transform myself.” Rebecca McGuinness, Accounting Major


“I’m thrilled to be studying abroad in Rome; I’ve been here once before with my family and fell in love with the city.” Katie O’Brien, English Major


“I chose Rome because I have family from Italy and I wanted to experience and understand a part of my familial history that I only had heard about through my parents and grandparents. The food helped my decision as well!”  John Gallo, Economics Major


“…I am very excited to see and learn about all of the art and architecture. Earlier in my PC career, I wanted to add an Art History minor but unfortunately I could not not fit all of the requirements, however, I think being here in Rome makes up for it!” Steve Beck, Finance Major

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Students Have Their Say


The end of the semester and the beginning of final exams is upon us.  As we finished up the New Testament in the Eternal City class, I gave the students an opportunity to talk about their experience here in Rome this Fall.  We talked about academics, student life, and living in a foreign culture.

I posed the simple question: “Why study in Rome?”  I asked them to imagine a student back home who was considering a study abroad experience.   What would they say to such a student about being in Rome and studying Theology here?  Here’s what some of them said:


“I would highly recommend it to anyone considering studying theology in Rome, as I found that I have learned a tremendous amount regarding the Catholic religion. I feel that I have even learned more than I would in a typical classroom on Providence College’s campus, as our weekly site visits reinforce what we learn, and allow for a further knowledge of the content of the course.” Taylor Morley

“Studying theology in Rome was a huge advantage because what I learned throughout the course all linked up to this ancient city, the center of the Catholic Church.” Caroline Lockyer

“I found theology to become more and more interesting as we were able to witness first hand the archaeology of the early Christians.” Sarah Davis


“Rome makes everything that you learn in the classroom about theology come alive. Rome is the center of Catholicism and New Testament in the Eternal City proves it to you with all of the different sites that you visit once a week.” Hayley White

“Visiting some of the most famous basilicas in the world and experiencing the Papal Audience gave us an opportunity to not only learn, but ground our faith in tangible evidence by seeing it firsthand.” Caroline Carew

“Coming from a Catholic school Rome is a perfect place to study theology, with a Church on every block and taking classes 10 minutes from the Vatican.” Greg Nicolai

20140227-121536.jpg“Each and every site visit gives us the opportunity to truly understand Christianity to the fullest, as the evidence is right in front of us.” Devin Flood

“Personally studying theology in Rome has been much more of a memorable experience than I had ever envisioned before coming. I have taken classes at PC at home and they are definitely engaging, but I think that what stuck out most prominently about studying here in Rome is the fact that we got to visit and actually see the places that we were learning about and make connections to those and the readings that we did.” Jenna Winn

“Studying in Rome is unique because you can go to the places where early Christians practiced and have a greater respect for the evolution of the Church over the Centuries.” Nicholas Totagrande

20140218-114007.jpg“Studying theology in Rome has been an extremely rewarding experience. Rome contains many magnificent sites and locations that allow students to fully experience the theological and historical significance of this city. Rome is a must for any student looking to further their studies in this subject matter.” Chad Britnell

“Studying theology in Rome removes us from blind faith and makes our religion more grounded in concrete.” Kevin Gleason

“It is worth studying theology in Rome because some of the most important history of early Christians lives on here.” Rose Muldoon


“What better place to study Theology than the Catholic capital of the world?” Matt Matuozzi

“The numerous site visits give valuable background for our faith and you get a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Catholic.” Lauren Politi

“If you want to see theology and history come to life, there is no better place than the eternal city.” Emily DiRenzo

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“It is powerful to enter the basilicas and feel the spiritual energy. It’s more interesting to see the churches and walk around them and experience the basilicas versus reading about them in a textbook.” Rainy Paul

“While in a classroom in the U.S., you can only rely on photos and textbooks to give you a sense of what happened thousands of years ago.  While studying in Rome, visiting sites weekly allows you to better understand the New and the Old Testaments.” Brynne Murphy

“There are many reasons why Rome is the best place to study abroad… Living right next to Papa Francesco should say it all… The Vatican, the home of the Pope is within walking distance, and each day you can see the thousands of people in crowds going to and from St. Peter’s Square. Where else can you learn about religion and history one day and then go see it in the next few days?  There is no better, more beautiful and more religious place to study in the world.” Emileigh Gaeta

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 Go Friars!



St. Peter – Pray for Us!


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Our last site visit for the New Testament in the Eternal City course was to the excavations underneath St. Peter’s Basilica.  Called the “Scavi San Pietro”, these 20th century archaeological excavations have revealed the ancient Roman cemetery under St. Peter’s Basilica and Square.

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Begun in secret in the 1940’s during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII, these excavations were not open to the public until the 1970’s and then only in a very limited way.  Today a visit to the “Scavi” is a very exclusive tour in Rome that most people never experience, even if they live here.  So, this was a very important site visit!

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St. Peter was crucified in the Emperor Nero’s stadium or “circus”  on the Vatican Hill about 64AD. Next to Nero’s stadium was a cemetery and St. Peter’s body was buried there.  At first it was a very simple grave with clay tiles over it for protection from the elements.  But in a very short time the early Christians added a more elaborate grave marker which was known as a “trophy”.  About 200 AD a Roman priest named Gauis tells us that he “can show anyone the two “trophies” of the Apostles Peter and Paul…  One is on the Via Ostia and one is on the Vatican Hill”. Gaius was speaking of the graves of the martyred apostles already as a site of pilgrimage for Christians the world over.

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The traditional Christian pilgrimage to Rome to pray at the two tombs of the Apostles became known as the “ad limina apostolorum”.  “Ad limina” means literally “to the thresholds of the Apostles”, that is, the thresholds of their tombs.  In fact, it became a tradition very early on that all bishops must visit the tombs of the two “princes of the Apostles”, Peter and Paul, to be spiritually connected to the two founders of the Church at Rome.

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One of the earliest titles for the Pope is “Successor of Peter and Paul”.  And one of the responsibilities of the Pope in Rome is to be a “custodian of the tombs of the Apostles”. That is, the Pope must ensure that access to the tombs is given to pilgrims and that prayer and worship are unhindered at these holy sites.

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We were told by our tour guide that Pope Francis is the first Pope to visit the entirety of these excavations under the basilica.

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Papa Francesco visita la necropoli vaticana

In our New Testament course this semester we have now visited both tombs of the Apostles, and so have completed the “ad limina apostolorum”, the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls and the Basilica of St. Peter.  What a great way to end the semester!  St. Peter – pray for us!


A Visit from the Home Campus

This week the P.C. in Rome Program was pleased to welcome Ms. Alexandra Agati from the Center for International Studies back home.  “Allie” is the “Study Abroad Advisor” in the P.C. office and therefore has had one-on-one contact with every student who has come to Rome.  For this reason the students were excited about her visit and eager to share their Rome experiences thus far with her.

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Allie graduated from Providence College with a B.A. in English and a minor in Political Science in 2011 and studied abroad at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, during which time she developed an enthusiasm for international education. Upon return, she began working as a Peer Advisor, promoting study abroad and advising students.

20140218-114007.jpgThe purpose of Allie’s administrative visit was to familiarize herself with the P.C. in Rome program “on the ground” so that she can advise students in Providence effectively and accurately when they inquire about study abroad in the eternal city.  While she was here she met with the CEA Rome Team and discussed academics, housing, student life, co-curricular opportunities, and partnerships with Italian universities in Rome.

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Although only on a short stay with us, she was able to pack in a host of activities including class observations, meetings with students, faculty, staff, and administration, and even a tour of some student apartments for a true picture of what daily life is like here for a semester abroad.

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Allie has a particular responsibility for advising students in the P.C. School of Business and School of Professional Studies, as well as advising all students on short-term study abroad opportunities.  And she herself is also a student, currently completing her M.A. in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University.

allie visit2One evening Allie met with students for an in-depth conversation on their experiences here and asked what they would tell potential students who were considering a semester in Rome.  They were able to relate the blessings as well as the challenges of “Italian life” and living in the chaotic, busy, but also beautiful city of Rome.

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Administrative visits like this are important because it strengthens the bond with the home campus and helps to ensure effective collaboration between P.C. and CEA.  By familiarizing herself with P.C. in Rome, Allie can now bring back a deeper appreciation of how our program, in a unique way, perhaps, from other study abroad experiences,  flows from the very heart of the College mission as a Catholic, Dominican institution.

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Go Friars!



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