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Rome Reports

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Pontifical Latin American College in Rome home to saints and cardinals


This is the Pontifical Pio Latin American College. Here fifty-two priests from 15 countries live while they study at different pontifical universities in Rome.

Since its founding in 1858, over 4,000 students have studied here. Of these, 474 became bishops and 37 cardinals. Saints such as Oscar Romero and Blessed José Gregorio from Venezuela also studied at the college.

FR. GILBERTO FREIRE, S.J.
Rector, Pontifical Pio Latin American College

It is said that when Oscar Arnulfo Romero was a student here, in order to help the poor, he would take some of the school's food and secretly give it to the poor. As for José Gregorio, we can say that, unfortunately, he did not achieve his dream because he wanted to be a priest. And that's why he came here. He tried several times, but unfortunately, his health did not allow him and he had to return home.

The Pontifical Pio Latin American College has changed location several times. This is its sixth home. In the chapel, there is a pre-Vatican II altar, where St. Oscar Romero celebrated his first Mass.

But perhaps the crowning jewel of the college is this mosaic of the Virgin of Guadalupe. This one is more detailed than the mosaic in the Vatican Gardens. 

FR. GILBERTO FREIRE, S.J.
Rector, Pontifical Pio Latin American College

The main difference is that the Vatican mosaic is made for outdoors, while this one is made for indoors. And, therefore, here you can better appreciate every detail of the design.

Over its 164-year history, the Pontifical Pio Latin American College received numerous students from the same countries. These large national groups ended up creating three other institutions: the Pio Brazilian College, the Mexican College and the Philippine College.

Now, the college continues its mission to form Latin American priests, enabling them to put their virtues at the service of their local communities.

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TR: KG