June 23 – THE SCHOOL IN THE PARIOLI
THE SCHOOL IN THE PARIOLI
Br. Agostino may have died of illness on 21 July 1991 but his relatives insisted unanimously that he died of a broken-heart after he had been told that the school in Parioli had been put up for sale; he had spent half a century there and been head of the primary school. It was bought by the Communion and Liberation movement and continued to operate as a school under the name of Saint-Gabriel; however with the passage of years it went into decline. By 1999 the number on the rolls had dropped by half; it was transferred to La Storta, not far from our General House, and a business took over the buildings. That was the end of a: lovely story. ·
It had begun on 15 February 1926 when No. 16 Viale dei Parioli was bought from Dr. Celeste; it was a property of 3,000 square metres, not far from Villa Borghese. The building work was difficult: while digging the foundations, the builders hit on a number of galleries and were obliged to dig more than 15 metres deep. However, three classrooms could be used on 1 October 1929. The General Procurator, who had already lived in various parts of Rome, moved into the establishment; some pupils of the French lycee who had moved with him on previous occasions moved in with him for some time.
To meet the needs of the District, whose population was growing rapidly, it became necessary to extend the school and offer extra courses in arts (1935) and science (1940). Two remarkable men contributed to making the school well-known right from the start: Br. Alessio and Br. Angelo who headed it until 1971. The number of pupils kept increasing, reaching the 1,000 mark in 1948. However, after 1950 the competition from other schools and the lower population in the district brought this number down t Its reputation was still intact, as it was built on quality teaching, a solid Christian training, and many extra-curricular activities (sports, theatre, various special occasions); the school’s magazine, Il San Gabriele, was also instrumental in keeping up its reputation.
Before the General House was set up in Rome in 1962 the school at Parioli served as a guest-house for the Brothers passing through. They were given a royal welcome. In July 1947 Br. Angelo showed how imaginative and hospitable he was when he accommodated the Gabrielite group that attended the canonisation ceremony of Montfort. He did the same extraordinary thing during the Holy Year in 1950 when he turned the classrooms into guestrooms during the Easter holidays.