Seventeen undergraduate students from Saint Mary’s College of California, along with three of their professors, are in Rome for a one-month intensive course, titled Walking in the Footsteps of the Early Christians.
As part of its programs for international groups, The Lay Centre is collaborating with the professors of St. Mary’s in offering lectures and leading site visits in and around Rome.
The students arrived in Rome from Moraga, Calif., where the Lasallian school is located, on 13 January.
Since then, they have visited numerous Early Christian sites in Rome and surroundings, including the town of Subiaco, where Saint Benedict began his monastic life in the early sixth century and established his first monasteries. Robert White, university instructor and assistant for programs at The Lay Centre, led the visit.
Among a series of site visits, Mr. White will also lead the students’ scheduled visit to Assisi, where Saint Francis founded the Order of Friars Minor.
The students have also been on site at The Lay Centre for lectures and discussions.
Professor Donna Orsuto, the director of The Lay Centre and a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University, is giving three of the program’s lectures: on the theology of martyrdom, on the theology of baptism, and on women in the Early Church.
This is the sixth time Saint Mary’s College of California has organized this course in Rome during its “Jan Term”, which is a month-long intensive session, held each January, in which every undergraduate student explores a topic in depth, either on or off campus.
The course Walking in the Footsteps of the Early Christians focuses on the history of the Church of Rome, from its foundation through to its legalization under Constantine and the emergence of the papacy in the sixth century.
Students enrolled in the course include sophomores and seniors in a variety of majors.
In the week ahead, the students will visit the motherhouse of the Christian Brothers in Rome and the tomb of the founder, Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle. They will also attend a General Audience with Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s Square on 28 January. Their return to California is scheduled on 2 February.