Jul 18, 2022
David Pepin

SOPHIA Program Caps Successful Year With Annual Study Tour In Rome

What is something you can do in Worcester, Massachusetts and in Rome, Italy? Answer: Experience an Assumption campus!

This spring, two groups of undergraduate students who participated in the SOPHIA Program spent a week in the Italian capital on the program’s annual capstone study tour led by President Emeritus Francesco Cesareo, Ph.D. Throughout the week, the groups consisting of Assumption students and faculty traveled to various historical sites around the Eternal City to experience their cultural influence and their significance to the mission of Assumption and the SOPHIA Program, which promotes a sense of wonder, discovery, and purpose as students reflect on their life’s callings, together.

The SOPHIA Program is an Assumption initiative designed to inspire deep intellectual, personal, professional, spiritual, and social engagement for sophomore students through faculty mentorship, academic discussion, and travel opportunities. The program derives its name from the Greek word for wisdom (σοφία) to encourage students to explore courses and activities with an emphasis on purpose and vocation.

“My decision to apply to the SOPHIA program was one of the best decisions I have made at Assumption,” Molly Tempesta ’24 said. “The SOPHIA programs is completely unique to Assumption and fosters community through the discovery of vocation and purpose in one’s life. I have had the opportunity to flourish and grow from this experience as it has helped me find life’s meaning and purpose.”

Upon arrival in Rome, students were welcomed to their accommodations at the Rome Campus’ Villino Dufault before embarking on a week of sightseeing and adventure. President Cesareo, who has led multiple Rome adventures during his many years at Assumption, led the group on excursions to famous landmarks including the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Roman ruins, and St. Peter’s Basilica, among many others.

One stop on the tour took the group to Vatican City and the United States Embassy to the Holy See in Rome where they met U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Joe Donelly, who answered student questions and explained some of the responsibilities of the Embassy staff.

“Visiting the Embassy was my favorite part of the trip,” Kaitlyn Calnan ’24 said. “It was so interesting to hear what it is like working in international affairs.”

“The trip was packed with non-stop adventures to see all the sights of Rome in one week,” Megan O’Meara ’24 said. “My favorite part was climbing the 500 long and narrow steps of the dome of St Peter’s Basilica. The views inside and outside of St. Peter’s were breathtaking, I will never forget this experience.”

Interested students can get involved with the SOPHIA Program by applying during their first year at Assumption and by reaching out to program director, Prof. Esteban Loustaunau. Throughout the year, members of the program also participate in retreats, service projects, and mentoring groups before concluding their experience with the annual week-long study tour of Rome.