Students of Pontifical Institutes and Universities of Rome are busy preparing for the first round of exams this academic year.
If the saints of heaven have ‘busy spells’ like shops and holiday resorts, then January and February are certainly peak times for saints such as Joseph of Cupertino and Jude. Why? Well, it’s exam time in the College and St Joseph of Cupertino is the patron saint of exam-takers and you probably know that St Jude is the patron saint of lost causes or hopeless cases!
St Joseph of Cupertino, perhaps unfairly, had the reputation of being slow and absent-minded, not perhaps the sharpest tool in the box. A story of his time as a student tells how, faced with an exam, his examiner asked him only one question, after having opened the New Testament at the one passage he knew, Joseph could talk about confidently. This display allowed the young man to proceed to his diaconate ordination. Fortune shone again on St. Joseph the following year when, facing his exam for the Priesthood with a group of his peers, the Bishop passed the rest of the class en masse after another candidate had spoken well and at length on his own question. Joseph was in the group who didn’t say a word during his exam. Hence he is patron now of test takers and students… and he’ll be inundated with petitions this exam season.
The Pontifical Institutes, where some of our students are studying in the licence programmes began the exam session last week (18th January). Both Pontifical Universities, the Angelicum and Gregorian will be examining students from the 25th January and will continue until classes recommence in the middle of February.
During this period the focus of the Scots College students shifts to the Library. The facility, renovated following a kind gift of Sir & Lady Tom Farmer in 2003, becomes a hub for students studying, condensing notes, trawling through books for that elusive quote and provides a haven away from the distractions of their own rooms. Of course the College routine continues as we gather each day for community Mass and meals. Early morning exams give students the opportunity to attend Mass at one of the many churches in the city centre.
Over these, sometimes stressful days, the continued prayers of our benefactors and supporters back home are appreciated. Those occasions of grace in St. Joseph’s life are moments which every student, no matter where they study, can reflect upon and take great inspiration from. While praying for the intercession of St Joseph of Cupertino, we pray that the intercession of St Jude will not be needed!
As the Italians say… “In bocca al lupo!”….Good luck!