Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Venerable English College in Rome

Since I mentioned the Venerable English College in Rome in my post on La Vulnerata in Spain, I thought I’d highlight the painting in the chapel in Rome today. Like the wounded statue of Mary at Valladolid, the painting in the chapel of the Venerable English College resonated with the seminarians and priests there beyond their devotional response to it.

The painting, which dates from 1580, depicts Jesus with His Father supporting Him and the Holy Spirit above Him and His Blood dripping on a map of England. Two English martyrs, St. Thomas a Becket and St. Edmund stand on either side—with the Flaminian Gate through which exiles returning to England would go in the background. The motto in Latin, translated in English, “I have come to bring fire to the earth,” obviously inspired those preparing for the mission in England.

As news of another graduate of the College executed in England for his priesthood and his faith reached Rome, the students and priests there would gather in the chapel before this image to sing Te Deum Laudamus. The College website includes a list of the martyrs.

The Venerable English College has an exhibit currently open (until the end of July) that depicts the history of the College. The exhibit takes its name, Non Angli sed Angeli, from Pope St. Gregory the Great’s exclamation that led him to send St. Augustine of Canterbury to England.

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