October 17th 1953: Gregoriana in Rome - 400 Anniversary
After Francisco de Borja had made available a sum of money Ignatius of Loyola founded in the year 1551 the Roman College, which should be open for students from all nations, and impart science and love for church and papacy.
Today's name of the university goes back to Pope Gregor XIII, who gave the college in the year 1573 by a donation of expanded landed property the necessary economic basis, and built for it a palazzo which he personally inaugurated in 1584.
For more than two centuries the Gregoriana was governed by the Society of Jesus, which provided also the professors. When the Order was dissolved in 1773, secular priests took over the teaching activities under the direction of a commission of several cardinals. Leo XII transferred in 1824, after the re-establishment of the Order, the responsibility for the Gregoriana again to the Society of Jesus. Revolutionary turmoil in Rome and Italy caused the Gregoriana many problems, which it overcame fortunately.
In the year 1870 Pius IX added to the university the faculties for Canon Law, Church History and Mission Science. Under retention of their own rights also the institutes for Bible science and for eastern studies were subordinated to the Gregoriana,
According to the Lateran Treaty the Gregoriana belongs to the Vatican territory and enjoys the appropriate privileges. The rector is appointed in each case by the pope. At the Gregoriana lectured many important professors, like Robert Bellarmin (doctor of the church), who was also for some time rector, Francis Suarez, de Lugo, Palmieri, and many others. Also German professors worked there, like Athanasius Kircher, Kleutgen, Cornely, Wernz, Prümm, Kirschbaum and many others.
Owing to uncounted scientific works, books, and magazine articles the Gregoriana enjoys among experts an excellent name. At the Greogoriana studied serveral popes, like Leo XIII, Benedikt XV, Pius XI and Pius XII, serveral cardinals, hundreds of bishops and general superiors of orders, church leaders, saints and beatified.
In the year 1953 in Rome the 400 anniversary of the Gregoriana University was celebrated from October 13th to 20th by a scientific congress that was framed by church festivities. The participants met on October 17th in the Vatican to a papal audience. Pius XII delivered a longer speech. He closed with the thought that the Gregoriana had to kindle a threefold holy fire in the alumni's souls: Zeal for the salvation of the souls, zeal for the cultivation of the sciences, and zeal for prayer and self-abnegation. Into that reminder the pope summarized his congratulations at the jubilee.