La Nocetta: Half a Century of History

July 3rd this year marked the 50th anniversary of the inauguration, at La Nocetta, of the St John of God International College (?Collegio Internazionale San Giovanni di Dio?) and 50 years since the Holy See issued its approbation to erect it as a Canonical House.

 The story had begun 10 years earlier, when Fr Mosé Bonardi, the Prior General of the Order between 1953 and 1959, pushed ahead with his idea to establish a Spirituality and Missiology School, to provide formation for the directors and masters of Postulants, Novices and newly-Professed Brothers (art. 3, 1955 Statute). The school began taking it first steps in 1956 on Tiber Island, headed by its first director, Fr Salvador Gomez y Gomez from the Castile Province. Because of the pressure caused by increasing numbers of participants another more appropriate place had to be found that could cater for  its new needs; in 1960 the Prior General, Brother Iginio Aparicio, who had succeeded Fr. Bonardi, authorised with the consent of his Definitory the conclusion of negotiations to purchase a plot of land in Via della Nocetta from the Mensa Vescovile di Mazara del Vallo (Trapani, Sicily); and in 1961, the Order bought it and used it to build a College to house the International Spirituality and Missiology School.

 That same year, the Rome City Council officially approved the plans designed by the architects Domenico Virgili and Giancarlo Nale, and the construction was completed in 1963.

The first Prior of the College was Brother Benignus Callan from the Irish Province, who was also the fourth General Councillor at the time. On October 12, 1963 the Chapel was blessed and the altar was consecrated coram populo. The holy relics in the altar stone are of St Gallicanus and St Maria Goretti, martyrs, and Saint Pius X, Pope, and St John of God, confessors.

On July 15, 2013, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the canonical erection of the premises housing the General Curia the Order, familiarly known as ?La Nocetta? named after the lane on which it stands, the Community and the Co-workers of the General Curia celebrated a Thanksgiving Mass in the Chapel.

The Prior General, Brother Jesús Etayo, presided at the Eucharist, and in his homily recalled the first Brothers who had come to La Nocetta to attend the Missiology courses, before leaving for the mission lands. He also expressed his thanks to the Brothers making up the Curia community, particularly the Prior of the House, the Co-workers who work with such diligence and affection for the Order, and called La Nocetta ?Hospitality House? considering that it takes in so many people, Brothers, Co-workers and Guests.

Several Brothers from Tiber Island and the Vatican Pharmacy also took part in the Eucharistic celebration, and afterwards shared a fraternal meal with the Community and Co-workers of the General Curia.

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