• Dr. Santa Casciani, Director                

Professor of Dante’s Divine Comedy (IC360)

Santa Casciani, Ph.D., is the Director of the Bishop Anthony M. Pilla Program in Italian American Studies at John Carroll University and the Director of the John Carroll University at Vatican City. As Associate Professor of Italian language and literature at JCU, Dr. Casciani has developed undergraduate courses dealing with Italian and Italian American literature. She has published extensively in Italian literature, and pedagogy, including work which focus on authors such as Dante and Michelangelo.

Before coming to John Carroll to direct the Bishop Pilla Program in 1999, Dr. Casciani held faculty positions at the Pennsylvania State University and at the University of Missouri at Columbia. She earned her Ph.D. in Italian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her M.A. in Italian at the Ohio State University, her B.A. in Italian and English at Saint John Fisher College in Rochester, New York and AS in Marketing from Monroe Community College also in Rochester, New York.. She was born in L’Aquila, Italy, and immigrated to Rochester, New York, as a teenager.


  • Dr. Paola Di Giammaria

Professor of Sixteenth Century Art in Rome (AH 431). 

Dr. Paola Di Giammaria is an Art Historian, specializing in Roman art. Dr. Di Giammaria holds a “laurea” in the Humanities with an Art History degree from the University of La Sapienza in Rome, where she also received her specialization in Medieval and Modern Art History and her PhD. Dr. Di Giammaria completed her dissertation on Valsoldo and Valsoldino, who were active sculptors in Rome between the end of the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth century.

She has been teaching for the John Carroll University Vatican City Program since its beginning in 2005, and teaches the Art History courseSixteenth Century Art in Rome (AH 431). 

Dr. Di Giammaria is also curator in the Department of the History of Modern Art at the University of La Sapienza. She is published in the fields of her specialty and in the delicate phase of the passage from Mannerism to Counter- Reformation to Baroque. Her most recent article discusses the activity of Volsoldo in Rome, and appeared in the volume Scultura a Roma nella seconda metà del Cinquecentro: protagonisiti e problemi.

Dr. Di Giammaria has been the curator of many exhibits by contemporary artists in Rome, and she also collaborates with La Fondazione Franz Ludwig Catel. Recently, she curated the volume Pensieri d’arte, Dentro e fuori I Musei Vaticani published by LEV. This volume is a collection of all the articles written by the Director of the Vatican Museum, which have appeared in L’Osservatore Romano, from 2008-2011. Dr. Di Giammaria is employed by the Vatican Museum and had been responsible for the Fototeca dei Musei Vaticani since June 2010.

  • Dott. Stefania Maurizio

Professor of Italian

Dott. Stefania Maurizio received her laurea in Foreign Language and Literature from the Istituto Universitario Orientale in Naples and an MA in Italian Literature and Language from The Ohio State University. After receiving her MA in the U.S. she continued at Ohio State for another year, and held a position as a lecturer in the Department of Romance Languages and Literature.

Maurizio has been teaching for the JCU at Vatican City Study Abroad Program since its beginning in 2005. More specifically, she was instrumental, along with Dr. Casciani, in the development of the program. Not only did she organize all of the activities in Abruzzo when the program had its immersion in Castlenuovo in the province of L’Aquila, but often traveled to Rome with Dr. Casciani to organize the location in Rome.

She has extensive pedagogical experience in both the Italian and English language and teaches all of our language courses.  The students have developed strong bonds with her throughout the years. She also contributes in our students cultural experience and students love her exceptional baking as they continue to rave about her Crema al Marsala.

  • photo-2Prof. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah               

Professor of African Philosophy (PH285)

Professor Godfrey Igwebuike Onah is a priest of the Catholic diocese of Nsukka, Nigeria. He obtained his doctoral degree in philosophy at the Pontifical Urbaniana University, Vatican City in 1992 and since then has taught philosophy at his Alma Mater. He is currently the Vice President for Academics of the University. From 2001 till 2007 he was the Director of the Institute for Research on Non-belief and Cultures in the Faculty of Philosophy of the Urbaniana University.

His areas of interest and research are philosophical anthropology (with particular focus on the natural openness of the human being as well as the religious dimension of humans) and African philosophy (especially those aspects of philosophy that have direct relevance to contemporary Africa).

In addition to the Urbaniana University, he has taught in other Catholic Universities and Higher Institutes in Italy: at the Ateneo Regina Apostolorum in Rome, at the Pontificia Facoltà di Scienze dell’Educazione, Auxilium in Rome, and at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan.

His published works include: Self-Transcendence and Human History in Wolfhart Pannenberg, Lanham (1999); Logotherapy and the Philosophy of Man, Vatican City (2000); Odoziobodo: Ochichi Maka Ezi Oganihu Ndi Igbo, Owerri ([Good Governance and Development among the Igbo] 2003), African Philosophy and the Hermeneutics of Culture (edited with Obi J. Oguejiofor), Münster (2005); Intellectualism and the Development of a People, Nsukka (2011); as well as a number of chapters in books and articles in scientific journals.

Fr. Godfrey has participated in four Synods of Bishops as an “expert.” In 2009, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI appointed him a Consultor in the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, one of the first seven Consultors ever to be appointed to that Dicastery of the Roman curia.

Two burning desires have animated his teaching and research apostolate. One is the desire to put philosophy at the service of the truth of the Gospel of Christ. The other is the desire to remain relevant to his people and Church at home, even while serving the Universal Church in Rome.

Professor Onah has been with the John Carroll University at Vatican City Program since 2005 and has been a role model for all of our students who have studied with him.

Lorella in Togo

  • Dr. Lorella Congiunti

Professor of Introduction to Ethics (PL302)

Lorella Congiunti was born in Rome where she lives with her husband Rodolfo Papa and their three children: Benedetta, Lorenzo Maria, and Maria Chiara.

She received her doctoral degree in philosophy from II University of Rome “Tor Vergata” and her license in Sacred Theology from St. Thomas Aquinas at the Pontifical University in Rome. Since Academic Year 1999-2000 she has been teaching philosophy of Nature at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Vatican City.

Her areas of interest and research are philosophical cosmology (with particular focus on the finalism of nature and on the specificity of human beings) and on questions of boundaries (especially those aspects of philosophy that have direct relevance to the issues related to science and religion).

Her monographs include: Soggettività e ontologia (1996); La ragione e il suo contrario (2004), Soggetto del sapere e scienze moderne (2005) e Lineamenti di filosofia della natura (2011) as well as a number of chapters in books and articles in scientific journals.

Professor Congiunti is Director of the International Society of St. Thomas Aquinas (SITA), Corresponding Academician of the Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Vatican Foundation STOQ “Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest”.

She has been teaching “Introduction to Ethics” in the John Carroll University at Vatican City Study Abroad Program since 2007. JCU students who have studied with her, comment and her academic diligence and rigor, and her kind nature.

  • 2012-11-19 13.37.09Father Angelo Romano

Professor of A Century of Italian History (HS296)

Father Angelo Romano was born in Rome where he lives.

He received a doctorate in Political Science from the University of Rome “La Sapienza,” his license in Theology from The Gregorian University of Rome, and his PhD in the History of the Church from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan. He teaches Contemporary History at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Vatican City.

A Catholic priest since 1994, Father Romano is now Rector of the Basilica of Saint Bartholomew in Rome, the Memorial Church for the New Christian Martyrs. He is also a member of the Saint Egidio Community in Rome, and he is in charge of its peace-building initiatives, especially in Western Africa and in the African Great Lakes area. Just recently he took part in the release of eight soldiers in Senegal who were taken hostage from Separatist rebels in Senegal. Click here to read more about it!

His academic interests are in the history of the contemporary Church. His monographs include: Ernesto Ruffini, Cardinale arcivescovo di Palermo ([1946-1967] 2002); Mirare tutta la vastità del mondo. Maria Luisa Prosperi, monaca benedettina ([1799-1847] 2012), as well as chapters in books and articles in scientific journals including, “Il caso del Mozambico e del Burundi”. In Senza armi per la pace. Ed. Pierluigi Consorti (Pisa, 2003)..

Father Romano has taught with the John Carroll University at Vatican City Program since 2006 and the JCU students remark on his vast knowledge of Italian history, his witty sense of humor and his kindness.

  • PaoloProfessor Paolo Mancinelli

Professor of History of the Papacy (RL326)

Paolo Mancinelli was born in Rome, where he lives with his wife Monica Nini.

He received his doctoral degree in Modern History from the II University of Rome Tor Vergata; a degree in Archival and Palaeographic studies from the Scuola di Paleografia e Diplomatica of the Archivio di Stato of Roma; and a Ph.D in Contemporary History from the University of Rome La Sapienza.

As an historian, he has been part of the Historical Committee for the process of canonization of the former Italian Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi.  His areas of academic interest is the relationship between State and Church in Italy and France from the nineteenth to the twentieth century.

As a member of the Sant’Egidio’s Community in Rome, he directs their house-family for the elderly and he is also a representative of their community in the USA.  He travels frequently to the United States where he gives conferences in universities on the issues of social justice and the poor; on the ecumenical and interreligious dialogue; and on the death penalty.

He works for the Generalate of the Catholic Congregation of the Society of Mary (Marist Fathers) in Rome, where is responsible for their international administration.


  • .
  • Professor Ardian Ndreca

Professor of Christian Thinkers (PL 230)

Professor Ardian Ndreca was born in Scutari, Albania.  He received his doctorate in Letters and Philosophy from the LUMSA in Rome, and his Ph.D. from the Urbaniana University in Vatican City where he is now Professor of History of Modern Philosophy.  He is also the Chair of the Institute for Studies of Atheism and Cultures.

He teaches courses on philosopher such as Pascal, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Schelling, and Kierkegaard.  His areas of interest and research are the relationship between Faith and Reason, Atheism in present society, and the search for God.

His monographs include Mediazione or paradosso?: Kierkegaard contra Hegel, (2000), Soggettività nella filosofia di S. Kierkegaard (2005), Lessico di filosofia della storia (2012).  He has also published numerous articles and book reviews.  Among his many articles, we find “L’ideale dell’anima bella in Schiller”, “Il Concetto dell’amore nel Rinascimento”, “Nichilismo e domanda di senso”, “L’istante e l’eternità in Kierkegaard”, and “Die Isonomie im Albanischen Gewohnheitsrecht”.

He has been teaching for the John Carroll University at Vatican City Study Abroad Program since 2007.


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