A city aware of its historical and territorial self-awareness, but at the same time endowed with productive and cultural potential that projects it onto the international stage. This is the context in which the new Brescia campus of Università Cattolica in Mompiano is located, which as of today hosts the 2,500 students of the Faculties of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, Education, Psychology, Political and Social Sciences and the courses of the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences.
«It is a place where so many personal stories, which will unfold throughout life, begin -according to Rector Franco Anelli, who adds -‘Home is where one starts from’, says a line from T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, and it is from here, from these classrooms, these workshops, these meeting places, that we begin. My heartfelt wish is for the students and freshmen who are embarking on their university experience after two years of school life, but also of personal and family life, disturbed by the anomalies of a difficult time. My wish is that on this campus they can begin to build their future and that their expectations, which are also ours, those of the whole of society, find full and proper satisfaction».
This is a much-needed project that will help Università Cattolica to establish its roots in the Brescia area, enhancing the educational offerings of the six faculties operating in Brescia and expanding the dialogue and synergy with local institutions. The new Brescia campus, which will stand alongside the historic one in Via Trieste, is in fact the largest investment ever made by Università Cattolica in Brescia, a concrete demonstration of the confidence that the University has in the city, with 25 million euros.
This is because, Professor Anelli said «Brescia represents a laboratory of great interest, in light of the process that political scientist Parag Khanna calls ‘connectography’, a synthesis of connectivity and geography. Khanna writes: ‘We are moving towards an era in which cities will be more important than states and supply chains will be more important sources of power than military ones. Competitive connectivity will be the arms race of the 21st century’'».
A desire to project oneself into the future in a concrete way was also highlighted by the words of Monsignor Angelo Vincenzo Zani, Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education: «Today, the link between the project carried out here, the centenary of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and the challenges pressing on the role of an academic institution such as this, by a society in profound transformation, emerges spontaneously. It is an invitation to retrace our history in order to project it into the future». It is an invitation to look to the future, which also means responding to cultural, technological, ethical, socio-economic and political questions and challenges.
«This investment will help us grow as a community and consolidate the city's university vocation - said the city's mayor, Emilio Del Bono-. This is why we need to invest in knowledge and in inrastructures: it is with investments of this kind ‒ a beautiful, student-friendly hub, consistent in terms of the regeneration of an existing building stock ‒ that we will win the challenge of the future. Brescia, which has many economic vocations, needs well-educated men and women. Even in higher education, which is still too low in numbers».
A formation that is made up not only of knowledge but also of wisdom, as suggested by the bishop of Brescia, Monsignor Pierantonio Tremolada, in his homily during the mass concelebrated with Monsignor Angelo Vincenzo Zani and the General Ecclesiastical Assistant of Università Cattolica, Claudio Giuliodori. Quoting the Book of Proverbs, Monsignor Tremolada emphasised that «against aggressive violence and exclusively functional thinking we need a humble and constructive wisdom, which never acknowledges the presumptuous claim of a one-way science. The fruit of wisdom is the testimony of the wise who are not simply experts, because the fruit is cultivated not only for work and profession, but to become 'experts in life'».
The chapel on the new campus, decorated with works by Federico Severino, is dedicated to Wisdom. As Bishop Giuliodori recalled, «the founders of Università Cattolica wanted the chapel to always be at the centre of the University, the place where everything can be traced back to the principle of all science and wisdom».