Convitto San Tommaso
Established in 1948, the Convitto San Tommaso (Convitto Internazionale San Tommaso d'Aquino) is a residence for priests studying at a Pontifical Institute or University in Rome and for non-clerical, male religious and male lay students who are doing their second or third cycles at a Pontifical Institute or University. The students, numbering approximately 55, come from all five continents of the world. Though many of those who come to join us are Diocesan priests, priests who are members of religious orders and congregations and lay people enrich our life, too. The house is an apostolate of the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) which wishes to further the education of priests throughout the world for the future of the Church. Three Dominicans are members of our community, and live to serve the practical and spiritual needs of the student priests: the Rector, the Spiritual Director, and the Bursar.
The Convitto building stands directly behind the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (PUST), also known as the Angelicum. A "back door", in fact, leads from one building to the other, but the main door of the Convitto opens out onto a small, quiet cul-de-sac called the Via degli Ibernesi (literally, the Street of the Irish), so named because the building that is now the Convitto was originally constructed in the 17th century as a Seminary for Irish students living abroad. Off this small street is a path to the heart of the Roman Fori, with the Colosseum at one end and the Victor Emmanuel Monument at the other. We are in the heart of Ancient Rome, with ready access to Rome's extensive public transportation system.
The Convitto is a place of residence, but we think of it as a community of priests studying, praying and living together. The life of the house is concentrated, first and last, on the daily celebration of the Eucharist, and the priests in the house are encouraged also to join in the prayerful celebration of Lauds and Vespers. Fundamental to the house is an atmosphere of quiet so that the students can concentrate on their studies. But no less important, given the opportunity of meeting fellow students and priests from all over the world, is the new breadth of knowledge gained concerning the universal Church, and the shared joy also of living together at the very centre of the city of Rome.