February 7, 2011.
To train near the Pope and later be able to teach others. This is the spirit of the Pontifical Spanish College of St. Joseph which for nearly 120 years has been the home for thousands of Spanish priests in Rome. Its history can now be read in a book by the historian and priest Vicente Carcel Orti as well as the former rector of the College, Lope Rubio.Fr. Vicente Cárcel Ortí
“It's not a book of anecdotes or tales but a documented history from archives and libraries with strong graphic images that helps to understand the book. Above all, it's a rigorously documented history.”
The book tells the story of the institution from its founding to it's role today. It has shaped 3,500 priests, 123 of them were ordained bishops and 105 killed during the religious persecution.
The college was founded in 1892 by the Blessed Manuel Domingo y Sol. He also created the San Jose College for religious vocations in Spain. Fr. Vicente Cárcel Ortí
“The founder wanted the Spanish priests to have a direct reference to the Pope at that stage of their training and that was the reason why the college was founded.”
The activities organized by the school helps the priests and seminarians receive intensive training to become better priests and to deepen their spiritual life. Fr. Vicente Cárcel Ortí
“People come here for training to specialize in different subjects, in this residence they live in community.”
“All of this serves so that each individual can return to his diocese to explain and teach what he learned in Rome.”
Three popes have also passed through this school, but only for a visit. Even John Paul II stopped by twice to meet the priests studying there. Fr. Vicente Cárcel Ortí
“The first pope to visit the college was John XXIII in the former headquarters of the school, near Piazza Navona. Later, Paul VI also visited the same location. Afterward Paul VI inaugurated the building where we are now after the Council. And then, of course, John Paul II came here to visit us twice.”
The College has had two locations: the Altemps Palace in the center of Rome and it's current residence in the Aurelia neighborhood, which is just over a mile from the Vatican.