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Ignatian Rome: Rocca-Pia

Location: the town of Tivoli in the hills outside of Rome

Pius II built the Rocca Pia as a fortress-residence in the middle of the 15th century; there Paul III gave his oral approval of the Society of Jesus in 1539. Ignatius had sent to Cardinal Gaspare Contarini the first version of the Formula of the Institute, known as the "Five Chapters," along with the censor's opinion rendered by Father Tomas Badia, the Dominican "Theologian of the Papal Household" (Magister Sacri Palatii), who declared that the way of life of the Society was "holy and devout."
On Sept. 3 the Cardinal sent back word: "I was with milord the Pope today, and in addition to expressing to him your petition, I read to His Holiness the whole of the Five Chapters. They pleased His Holiness greatly, and he has graciously approved and confirmed them. Friday we will come to Rome... and the order will be given to draw up the brief or bull."
Actually a year went by before the bull "Regimini" was issued. Nadal said that on this occasion Paul III exclaimed, "The Spirit of God is here." Polanco added that the pope said that this Society "has to reform the Church."

An historical vignette: At the beginning of Oct., 1548, Ignatius was in Tivoli to mediate the peace between Tivoli and the nearby town of Castel Madama after their discord had led to violent conflict. The saintly mediator spoke with leading persons in both towns and obtained their agreement to submit to the arbitration of Cardinal Bartolome dela Cueva.
On this occasion Don Luis de Mendoza, a Spanish priest, gave the Society a church with a small house and a bit of a garden, next to the road which goes out from the Porta del Colle. It was a place "very pleasant and apt for withdrawing at times to the quiet of contemplation, as well as for performing charitable service to the farmers and townspeople round-about." The church was dedicated to Our Lady (Santa Maria del Passo).
On Sept. 8, 1549, Ignatius went to Tivoli with other fathers from Rome to take possession. The Mass of the Nativity of Our Lady was celebrated, and a sermon was preached. Don Luis had invited leading citizens to come for "spiritual and temporal refreshment."