The starting up of a school can be a difficult undertaking, and ours had its challenges. But I've come to learn that any problems that we had, paled in comparison to the challenges faced by Rosa Venerini when she opened her school here, long before us - in 1665. She grew up in the neighborhood; the daughter of a doctor who worked in a hospital which may have been located right across the piazza from here.
Rosa became a nun at a young age, but upon the untimely death of her father, she moved back home. Not long after, she started gathering young girls of the town to pray from the rosary. This lead her to form a school for girls, where she taught girls to read, write, sew and embroider. Controversy followed, because Rosa focused her attention on the poor in her school - the rich did not approve of their education. The local clergy were unsettled too, for they were the religious educators of this town, and did not welcome any competition. But Sister Rosa had a strong will and she kept on, eventually winning praise from the Bishop of the neighboring town of Montefiasconi, who asked for her to start a school there, too. In time, news and success spread, and at the time of her death in Rome, Sister Rosa Venerini was responsible for over forty schools for girls.
Today, there is a religious order in her name and schools all over the world. In 2006, Sister Rosa Venerini became Santa Rosa Venerini - a full Catholic saint. And it all started here, where we were moving our classes.
Needless to say, that's a tough teacher act to follow. Amen.