The Saint Benedict Education Foundation, Inc., was formed in the United States to provide support to one of the best-kept secrets in Rome, our international Benedictine University. Sant’ Anselmo in Rome continues, as it has for many years, to educate both lay and religious students ministering throughout the world in Christ’s name.
Rome is said to be one of the most visited cities in the world, the Eternal City, one of the world’s great cultural centers, known for its history and its art. Nearly five percent of Italy’s 57 million citizens inhabit the country’s capital, which lies on the banks of the Tiber River. Covering a 108-acre tract within Rome is Vatican City, the seat of the central government of the Roman Catholic Church.
Although it’s a modern city, known as a center for fashion, film, printing, banking and insurance, reminders of Rome’s history are everywhere, archaeology and architecture both old and ancient on its seven hills. On top of an outlying hill east of the river and southeast of Vatican City is the Aventine Hill in the ancient part of Rome. Once a strategic point in controlling trade on the Tiber River, the Aventine is now home to Sant’ Anselmo, the seat of the Benedictine Confederation, and the Pontifical Athenaeum of Sant’ Anselmo.
Founded in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII, students including Benedictine men and women come from all corners of the world to study at Sant’ Anselmo, receiving degrees at both the baccalaureate level and the graduate level. As an educational center, Rome houses many of the pontifical schools and faculties of the church, and opportunities for students to learn in a setting at the heart of the Catholic Church.
Most of the countless basilicas and ancient churches in the city are built on burial sites of martyrs. Aside from Saint Peter’s Basilica, the major churches of Rome include Saint John Lateran, Saint Mary Major and Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls.
The major church holidays Christmas and Easter are among the prime times to visit Rome. During Lent, Sant’ Anselmo and its church adorned in colorful marble mosaics, is one of the first stops for pilgrims visiting the station churches of Rome and for the Pope. On Ash Wednesday of 2006, Pope Benedict XVI began the liturgy of Ash Wednesday at Sant’ Anselmo, as many pontiffs have before him, including Pope John Paul II.
Sant’ Anselmo, while an ocean away from the United States, has had a major impact on the Catholic Church, educating cardinals, archbishops and bishops, from Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer to Archbishop Wilton Gregory to Bishop J. Peter Sartain, Bishop of the Diocese of Seattle by Pope Benedict XVI.