Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

Service Learning

Students enrolled in the ROST 382 course Human Rights: The View from Rome, will study theory, actuality and application of select human rights issues in the Mediterranean region as viewed from the perspective of Rome.  This course includes 24 hours of required practical engagement with the local community. 

The Non-Profit agencies we work with are:

Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, located in the historical crypt of the Episcopalian Church of Saint Paul’s Within the Walls, the JNRC is the only recreational day center in Rome accessible to refugees.

Twenty years ago, the rector of St. Paul’s, the Reverend Wilbur Woodhams, invited a young Ugandan priest, Joel Nafuma, himself a refugee, to open a ministry for the Africans in Rome victims of persecutions in their unstable countries. The JNRC was rededicated in June 1995 to an expanded and recommitted ministry under Bishop Rowthorn, the Reverend Joel Nafuma and representatives from the Rome ecumenical and international communities.

The Jesuit Refugee Services, located in the Caravita refectory, two steps away from St. Ignatius’ Church, has been serving food to hundreds of poor for 25 years.

It is an International Catholic organization that assists refugees in need in more than 50 countries around the world. Its mission is to “accompany, serve, and defend the rights of the refugees and forcibly displaced people.” The JRS was created by Father Arrupe in 1980. Its programs focus on education, advocacy, emergency assistance, nutrition and health, income-generating activities, and social services.

Service in Balduina District

Monte Mario Hike and Clean-Up Day

Each semester students volunteer their Saturday morning for a hike and clean up of Monte Mario Park and Balduina, the neighborhood which has housed the JFRC campus for over 40 years. The day begins with all volunteers meeting at the JFRC courtyard and putting on their JFRC gear.  Students are accompanied by the student life team.  Once arrived at the Park Reserve students are given a guided tour filled with information about the park and its importance to Rome and about the important Via Francigena route, the pilgrim’s passage that unites Caterbury to Rome since medieval times.  In previous occasions students have met groups of present day hikers who were marking the Via Francigena’s route. Students learn new things and collaborate with one another to clean up the neighborhood in which they live. The excitement is not only between the students but also amongst the Italians who are in the area that show their support and appreciation.  After about four hours, students are treated to a lunch in a neighborhood restaurant.

After the first service day students were incredibly satisfied and expressed their willingness to do more work. Therefore, the following week, students gathered again to plant flowers in the campus and clean up the drive way.  The feeling of satisfaction in those students that volunteer is evident each semester in their smiles, and their work is now seen not only by the JFRC community but by our neighbors in Monte Mario. All this is made possible by the commitment from our students to create change and also through the generous donation made by Dr. Mark Nathan. Through Dr. Nathan’s donation the JFRC Spring Class of 2011 started a new tradition of service along with the help of the entire JFRC Student Life staff will be kept alive for the classes to come through the green gates that have become home for thousands of alumni.   ‌