February 23, 2012. (Romereports.com) These hallways tell the stories of English travelers to Rome over the past 650 years. It's the Venerable English College which celebrated the anniversary of its foundation on January 27th.
Since the beginning in 1362, pilgrims have signed this guest book. Signatures include English poets such as John Milton and this one that reads simply “Arthurus Stratfordus Wigomniensis,” that's believed to be by William Shakespeare.
The College is a treasure chest of memories, from 14th century documents to the tomb of the 15th century Cardinal Bainbridge that's located in the chapel.
Fr. Patrick Kilgarriff
Former Rector, English College in Rome
“In the old days they came to the tombs of the apostles. And then they come here especially because of the English martyrs who are associated with the college.”
To commemorate the anniversary, a Mass was held with many of the former students. It was presided over by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor from England's diocese of Westminster.
For these former students, these reunions help to continue the school's rich history. The College is actually the oldest English institution outside the United Kingdom. And it's story is passed on to each new generation.
Fr. Mark Harold
Vice Rector, English College in Rome
“For those first couple of hundred years it was a hospice welcoming pilgrims and then following the council of Trent when there was the idea of training of priests in seminaries was brought in, we founded the Venerable English College which is a seminary for training of priests and that was founded in 1579.”
The Venerable English College of Rome continues to train English seminarians as well it's original function of serving as a resting place for pilgrims that make the journey to the Eternal City.