February 22nd 1551 - Ignatius Establishes the Roman College
Ignatius wished a training house for the Scholastics of the Order. Hence he founded in 1551 the Collegium Romanum. In its lecture rooms the young Jesuits, but also other students should get their formation. The beginnings were poor and simple. Ignatius rented a house on the Mervatello at the foot of the Capitol. He let attach to the door the poster that became famous: 'Schola di grammatica, d'humanita e dottrina cristiana gratis'.
First fourteen Scholastics of the Society of Jesus and their Rector, the Frenchman Father Jean Pelletier, moved into the new college. But soon the house could no longer accomodate the students. Several times a removal into a larger building took place. Pope Gregor XIII (1572-1585) who came from Bologna and became Pope at an age of 70 was very anxious about the education of the clergy, and therefore he remarkably promoted the Jesuits, their colleges and schools. In 1583 the college, which had soon been in financial needs, got a good financial foundation by him. Father Nadal was twice Director of the Roman College.
The amazing and unique thing on that poster at the door of the college was the small word 'free'. Only the generosity of the Duke of Gandía, Francisco de Borja, had made possible that donation.
From this college developed the international and world-famous Gregorian University, (cf. also 17.10.53). The number of the students grew powerfully, and the study program got an extension.
Since 1928 the Papal Bible Institute and the Oriental Institute are attached to the Gregoriana.
Among the former students are the names of Saints and Beatified, of Popes and Cardinals, and of hundreds of Bishops.