Andy Fuller | May 14, 2019
It was drizzling on a seasonably cool Thursday evening when a group of Notre Dame students arrived at the Basilica of St. Bartholomew on the Island. The basilica on Rome’s Tiber Island, built in the 10th century, houses relics of St. Bartholomew, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ.
Tradition holds that his miracles involve the weight of objects, and so it is perhaps a fitting parallel that the students are here to alleviate a burden: They’re preparing panini and soup to hand out to Rome’s homeless. It’s not a one-time commitment; the students will return throughout the semester to serve in this way. But make no mistake: They wouldn’t call what they’re doing miraculous. More like a no-brainer.
“Rome is giving us so much,” Sarah Powell ’20 said. “We want to give something back.”
The work is one of several opportunities for a community-based learning project in which all students spending a semester in Rome will participate — one of the key ways the students will immerse themselves in the city while they’re here.
“Whether it’s working at a soup kitchen or working with children in after-school programs or working with refugee children, whatever it is, the students are involved in a contemporary problem,” said Heather Hyde Minor, the Rome Global Gateway academic director.
It’s also one of the ways the Gateway becomes Notre Dame, in Rome. For students pursuing their Notre Dame education in the Eternal City, the setting may be different from South Bend, but not the priorities. The Gateway, one of five operated by Notre Dame International, focuses on providing students and scholars research opportunities, taking advantage of the unique combination of cultural, political, historical and religious layers that make Rome what it is today.
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