Illyrian College at Loreto-1

1930 ca.
Photography, 210x135mm
Fondo Provincia Romana, vol. 565, fasc. 8
ASPEM Archivio Storico della Provincia Euro-Mediterranea, Roma

One of the hallmarks of the Society of Jesus is the education and transmission of knowledge through Ignatian pedagogy: this charism is expressed through the founding and management of the company’s colleges. Since the first years of the company’s life, S. Ignazio himself believed in the foundation and the financing of the colleges, which even at present time constitute a very important part of the apostolate of the Jesuits in the world.
Teaching, as a form of apostolate, therefore has much relevance in the formation of young Jesuits. Angelo Secchi, still scholastic (i.e. seminarian), was sent by his superiors to the College of Loreto to teach scientific subjects, between 1841 and 1844. The image depicted here shows the interior of one of the classrooms of the college, during the end of the nineteenth century. The college, just before the arrival of Secchi, also setted up an educational laboratory, probably after the suggestion of P. Giovan Battista Pianciani, professor of physics at the Collegio Romano, had noticed how much his young pupil was particularly versed in these subjects and in the experiments.
The rector of the college,between June and July of 1841 bought an “electric machine” from Forlì and a “pneumatic machine” from Paris ,”for the School of Physics; so the Office was started. ” In September of 1841 an essay of physics and mathematics was held, while on October 16 of the same year, the diary of the house recalls the arrival of the “M. ° Secchi from Rome destined to teach mathematics and physics”.
In November of that year Secchi accompanied the rector to Ancona, perhaps for a consultancy,”to make the provision of school books”, in order to have more updated texts for scientific subjects. Beside teaching, Secchi was also responsible for spiritual assistance to the dorms. During his stay at the college several educational and recreational activities of scientific nature were conducted.
On the evening of September 28, 1842, for instance, “the first balloon rose from the boarders of the first dormitory and happily flew after some persistece of thrusts “; The event was then repeated in the month of October.
In May of 1843, on the occasion of the visit of the p. Provincial to the college, an essay of physics and Mathematics was held . During that same period, Secchi also attended English lessons togheter with some of his brothers: this proved to be an advantage for him during the years he had to spend abroad.
On September 3, 1844 p. Secchi directed a “essay on Physics, Mathematics and experimental”; The diary of the House recalls that “the room was thus prepared since Sunday with the encumbrance of all the machinery”. The essay was held in the presence of fifteen canonicals, a bishop, representatives of various religious orders; Many other people in the city also attended the essay.
At the end of 1844, Secchi was recalled to the Roman College to complete his theological studies and returned to Rome.

Maria Macchi, ASPEM