New Rector of Convitto Internazionale San Tommaso d’Aquino

On November 27, 2020, the Master of the Order appointed as the new Rector of the Convitto Internazionale San Tommaso, Brother Orlando Rueda Acevedo, O.P., who had just completed his six years as Socius for Apostolic Life. Since, according to its Statutes, the Convitto is a residence of the Order for the permanent formation of diocesan and religious clergy, established according to the norms given by the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Holy See also gave the Nihil Obstat for Br. Orlando to be appointed Rector of the Convitto. He succeeds Br. Luke Buckles, O.P., who has returned to the Holy Name Province in the United States, and whom the Order thanks for the latter’s valuable and fraternal service to the Convitto for four consecutive terms. 

The Convitto was created by the General Chapter of Rome in 1946 (Cf. ACG Rome 1946, 88). In February 1948, a contract was signed with the Carmelite Fathers so that the Convitto could function in the building of the General Curia of the Carmelites in Via Giovanni Lanza in Rome. In 1949, as some letters of the time testify, priests from various dioceses in the United States and Beijing were already residing in the Convitto. Seven years later, the Convitto had to find a new location, according to a letter dated May 6, 1956, which mentioned the need to move because the Carmelites were selling the building. The Prior Provincial of St. Joseph (USA) then proposed, by letter dated August 8, 1959, to acquire the property of the French Sisters of Our Lady of Compassion, the same building where the famous Irish College operated for many years, and which gave the street its name: “Via degli Ibernesi” (Street of the Irish). 

At the end of the 18th century, during the French invasion of Rome, many religious institutions were closed. Similarly, the Irish College was closed by order of Napoleon in 1798. Since then, an institution for the care of the sick has operated within its premises under the responsibility of the French Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, known as the Sisters of Charity. Once the building was acquired by the Order of Preachers on June 29, 1960, the Estudio Passarelli was asked to redesign the building, restore it and increase the number of rooms for resident priests. Passarelli added an intermediate interior building and a chapel, built entirely in reinforced concrete, in the typical style of the time, called “brutalist” because of the finishes of the “raw” material; today considered an authentic heritage in the heart of the historic center of Rome.
The Convitto was established as a subsidiary house of the Convent of the SS. Domenico e Sisto (Angelicum). In 1976, after a request made to the Master of the Order, the friars of the Convitto did not have an active voice in the conventual chapter. On January 28, 1977, on the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Master of the Order, Br. Vincent de Couesnongle, O.P., established the Convitto as a house under the immediate jurisdiction of the Master of the Order.

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