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The Pontifical Beda College (Italian: Pontificio Collegio Beda) is a college in Rome. It was founded as the Collegio Ecclesiastico at the Palazzo dei Convertendi in 1852 by Pope Pius IX and is intended for older men, often convert clergymen, wishing to prepare for the Roman Catholic priesthood.
This College was moved in 1854 to the English College to accommodate a larger number of clergymen from England who had joined the Roman Catholic Church from other Christian denominations and wished to prepare for the Catholic priesthood. They came only for four years, because they were seen to have significant experience already. Here the college became known as the Collegio Pio. It also included lifelong Catholics, drawn to the priesthood later in life and priests studying for post-graduate degrees in Rome.
Pope Leo XIII issued a new constitution in 1898 and placed the college under the patronage of the Venerable Bede, the eighth century Anglo-Saxon monk and scholar. Cardinal Howard bequeathed to the two colleges his valuable library.
It was decided by the Sacred Congregation of Studies (1917), that it should be completely separated from the Venerable English College, and that it should have a corporate life entirely of its own under a rector and staff of its own and in its own premises. Pending the acquisition of a permanent home, temporary premises were rented in the Prati di Castello from the Polish Hospice. Mgr Mann was brought from England to be the new rector, and the Rev. J. C. Richards was appointed vice-rector. The Bede students took up their new quarters on 2 January 1918.
When World War I ended, the Polish returned to Rome and the Beda became homeless. The community was transferred in 1922 to the Via S. Niccolo da Tolentino close by the Piazza Barberini. The College made progress under the guidance of Mgr Mann and his Vice-Rector Mgr McShane.
In 1956 Pope Pius XII provided from the extraterritorial property of the Holy See the land on which the present Beda stands, adjacent to the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. Pope John XXIII formally opened the new building on 20 October 1960.
From 1928 - 1961 the rector of the Beda College was Mgr Charles Duchemin.
The Beda remains the responsibility of the Bishops of England and Wales but now receives men from English-speaking countries worldwide.
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