The present Saint Monica's International College at Via Paolo VI, Rome owes its foundation to the Augustinian Commissary General in 1880s, Anthony Pacifico Neno O.S.A.
With the Italian Augustinian monasteries then decimated by the governmental suppression of religious houses, Neno founded Saint Monica's as a successful step in reviving the Order in Italy and elsewhere. Seeking financial assistance from the Augustinian world, Neno purchased a site that was literally beside the famous colonades of Saint Peter's Square.
The land in question was the Palazzo Cesi. It had belonged to Armenian monks, who sold the building to an Italian layman, from whom the Order purchased it for 185,000 lire. As well as the North American and Chilean Augustinian provinces and other benefactors, Maria Anna of Austria (of the House of Savoy), made the project financially possible. Maria Anna was one of the Roman-born twin daughters of King Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia; she wed King Ferdinand V of Hungary, who became Emperor of Austria in 1835. Both husband and wife were buried in the imperial crypt ion Vienna, which is part of the Augustinerkircke – a church conducted by the Augustinians.
The supreme pontiff of the time, Pope Leo XIII, by permitting the Augustinians their desired use of the property, including the provision of a public chapel. The initial community of Saint Monica's totalled forty Augustinians. The total cost of the land and the renovation of the building was 320,000 lire. The Augustinian Curia moved on to the property from the Convento Sant'Agostino in Rome on 6th November 1882. A decision was made in 1901 to expand the college. A great part of the money came from a bequest from an Augustinian who had become the Bishop of Salamanca, Spain. He was Tomas Camara, who died in 1904. After the new section of the building opened in 1906, Saint Monica's College could accomodate fifty students.
Because of the First World War, the college was closed in 1915, and did not return to its intended purpose until 1920. The present complex was built progressively as further needs required and finance permitted. In the present era the community contains as many as sixty members, who come from over twenty nations. They can be categorized as being in the "communita stabile", the "padri studenti" and the "studenti". The first category is the faculty and administration of Saint Monica's College, the second are Augustinians undertaking higher studies, and the third category are professed Augustinians studying for priesthood.
The chapel underwent a major renovation in 2007, including the placement of a series of wall mosaics. It is a public chapel in that passers-by may attended scheduled Eucharists.
Chapel of St Monica’s International College, Rome. The chapel underwent a major renovation in 2007, including the placement of a series of wall mosaics. http://www.centroaletti.com/ing/opere/italia/roma/45.htm AN4242