Benedictine College Historian Wins Rome Prize

Dr. John Romano

Benedictine College History Department chair Dr. John F. Romano has been awarded the prestigious Rome Prize for the 2018-2019 school year. The American Academy in Rome presents the awards annually in 11 disciplines. The Academy announced the winners of the 2018–19 Rome Prize and Italian Fellows on April 12 in New York, with Romano winning in the Medieval Studies area.

“These highly competitive fellowships support advanced independent work and research in the arts and humanities,” according to the Academy announcement. “This year, 29 Rome Prizes were awarded to 29 artists and scholars, who will receive a stipend, workspace, and room and board for a period of five months to two years at the Academy’s 11-acre campus in Rome.”  It listed awardees this year from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania and other institutions.

Romano, an associate professor at Benedictine, received his doctorate from Harvard University and received a license in Medieval Studies from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto. He is the author of Liturgy and Society in Early Medieval Rome (Ashgate, 2014).

Romano’s proposal for the Rome Prize focused on liturgical practices in Medieval Europe and asks to what extent diverse liturgical expressions were tolerated.

“Europeans who knew little about high theology were familiar with the sights, sounds, and smells of worship, and they witnessed deviations from what they knew when on pilgrimage,” he said.

“One of the frustrations of my preparatory work is that many of the most important papal letters that address this theme are available only in antiquated and flawed editions, a problem that recurs in the letters for the late antique and early medieval papacy,” he continued in his proposal. “Time spent in Rome would provide me with a base to consult manuscript libraries — above all, the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, where I have already done past research – but several others throughout Italy, which house manuscripts that are directly relevant to my theme.”

“This is a very prestigious honor, and we are all so happy for John. It is good to see this outside recognition for the fascinating work he is doing,” said Dr. Kimberly Shankman, Dean of Benedictine College.

“The Rome Prize has been called the Pulitzer Prize of the Humanities, and we are grateful to Dr. Romano for his hard work on this,” said President Stephen D. Minnis. “Because of outstanding faculty like him, Benedictine College is truly becoming one of America’s great Catholic colleges.”

The prize is the result of a national competition held each year with independent juries of distinguished scholars and artists. The 11 disciplines supported by the Academy are: Literature, Music Composition, Visual Arts, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design, and Historic Preservation and Conservation, as well as Ancient Studies, Medieval Studies, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and Modern Italian Studies.


Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.