A group of 15 people of various ages stand on the steps of a church.

Family Reunion in Rome

F. Edward Coughlin, OFM Around the Province

St. Bonaventure University’s vice president for the Franciscan Mission, F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, provided a report of a recent gathering that he co-hosted for the descendants of the friar who founded SBU as well as several Franciscan communities. Ed was in Rome from Nov. 19 to 26.

ROME — Fr. Pamfilo (Pietrobattista) da Magliano, OFM, a friar of the Abruzzi Province in Italy, was teaching at the Irish College in Rome, S. Isidoro, when he responded to the request of the then Minister General and bishop of Buffalo, John Timon, in 1854 to accept the call to the mission in Western New York. In 1855, he set sail for America with three Franciscan companions on a journey to Ellicottville, N.Y., and then on to Allegany, N.Y. The cornerstone was laid in 1856 and St. Bonaventure College formally accepted its first students in 1858.

pamfilo-rWhen St. Bonaventure University celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding in 2008, 21 members of the Pietrobattista family traveled to campus to be part of the celebration—their first visit to America and a joyful reconnection with the institution founded by the brother of the great grandfather of Vincent Pietrobattista.

Last month, 18 members of the Pietrobattista family visited Collegio S. Isidoro in Rome where they were welcomed by the international Franciscan community. Fr. Louis Brennan, OFM, a friar of the Irish Province and I were part of the gathering on Sunday, Nov. 21.

The family joined the community for Mass and refreshments before a tour of the house, which had been established in 1623—the dining room, classroom, library, cloister and chapel—the many places where Pamfilo had eaten, taught, walked and prayed.

Vincent and Maria Pietrobattista were the honored elders in the group. In the photo above, the St. Bonaventure banner is held by their grandson Jacopo in the center. Fr. Louis is on the left and I am on the right.

The visit marked another chapter in the family’s reconnection with the story and most significant places in the life of Fr. Pamfilo, whose picture and books occupy a special place in the family home in Magliano.

— Br. Ed was one of four leaders of the St. Bonaventure University Heritage Pilgrimage through which participants travelled to Magliano, Italy, in May 2008 and met the Pietrobattista family.