Independent Public Mission Schools

Caldwell University Students Explore Foundations of the Dominican Tradition in Rome

Students explored the foundations of Caldwell University’s Catholic Dominican tradition during a study-abroad course in Rome in the late spring. Arranged and taught by President Nancy H. Blattner and Vice President Sister Kathleen Tuite, O.P., the three-credit course focused on the historical, cultural, literary and religious foundations of the Christian church in Rome and on how the Dominican tradition emerged from that base.

The group  visited Roman sites including the basilicas of the apostles Peter and Paul and the Sistine Chapel. Students toured Dominican-themed spots like the Basilica of Santa Sabina and learned about Dominican saints. Rich Orsini, a junior, was“completely in awe” of the Renaissance sculpture Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica and thoroughly enjoyed the Colosseum and its “great Roman architecture.”

Before the trip, students met at Caldwell for classes each week during the latter part of the spring semester. While in Rome they took classes arranged through the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas.

Angela Irvolino, also a junior, found something she cherished in every church“whether it was the ceiling or the priest talking about the love for his parish.” Orsini enjoyed meeting the Dominican priests and learning about living the Dominican pillars of prayer, study, community and service in everyday life.

For Irvolino, the trip was a good chance for her to meet other students since she is a commuter who does not stay after class. I made a lot of new friends.” She was grateful to get to know Sister Kathleen, who was “amazing in explaining the Dominican tradition,” and President Blattner,“a true role model. Her heart is so big.” Orsini too was thankful to Dr. Blattner and Sister Kathleen “for trusting us young adults and giving us the opportunity. I hope they continue the program.”

While for many of the participants, the trip to Rome began as an opportunity to visit well-known tourist attractions, such as the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, the journey became more of a spiritual pilgrimage, according to Blattner, who said that “students indicated their desire to think more deeply about their faith and how their choices as college students can affect others.” Both Blattner and Tuite were gratified that the 18 students in the course mastered not only the content offered but lived out the Dominican pillars of prayer, study and community while on the trip. Another study abroad trip to Rome is being planned by Blattner and Tuite for spring break 2018.