from Patrick Riley
Rome (NCWC) ONE of Rome's "architectural mistakes" is coming down. It is the Pio Latin American College, regarded as one of the worst-designed buildings in the city.
The massive college was built by the Jesuits 75 years ago to house seminarians from Latin America in Rome for their studies. Its space was so uneconomically utilized that the last Jesuit superior general but one, Father Wladimir Ledochowski, styled it "a lesson in how not to build"..
The students have moved to a newly-built college on the Via Aurelia, a narrow road which nonetheless qualifies as a main artery leading north from the city. Pope Pius IX gave the land and its rustic villa-and later his name "Pio"-to the college a century ago.
The college had its beginnings in the mind of a young Chilean priest, Father Ignacio Eyzaguirre, who thought that an elite corps of priests trained in the Roman tradition might be a beginning to the religious regeneration of Latin America. Pope Pius IX supported the idea, and Father Eyzaguirre brought 17 recruits to Rome, mostly from Argentina and Colombia.
The young men were housed in a building adjoining the Church of Sant' Andrea della Valle and entrusted to the care of the Jesuits. But friction soon developed between superiors and subjects, and a delegation of students succeeded in reaching the Pope with their grievances
Pius IX listened attentively, pointed out to the seminarians that discipline was fundamental in their training, and as a token of his good will personally ordered that they he served dessert twice a week. In 1860 Pius bought the Villa Maffei on the Via Aurelia apentduigtya.ve it to the college in per
The college was moved into two other buildings in succession before the massive "palazzo" now being demolished was built for it on a bend of the Tiber just above Vatican City. During its wanderings the Latin American College has produced more than 1,500 priests, and almost 200 bishops.