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Past, present, future

Surround your studies with history and beauty
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It’s in the little things

Nurturing faith in everyday life

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Community. Faith. Dialogue. Learning.
All of these animate life at The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas—an oasis in the centre of historic Rome.
Serving as a residential community for students attending  pontifical universities and visiting scholars, The Lay Centre is dedicated to the formation of the laity and to the promotion of the lay vocation in the Church and in the world.
Intrinsically Catholic, The Lay Centre has a strong commitment to promote Christian unity and creates opportunities for genuine encounter and sincere dialogue with people of all religions.
The Lay Centre’s enriching international programs and local conferences feature high-calibre speakers and draw laity from Rome and abroad.


Follow the highlights of student life at The Lay Centre, as well as our public events and programming, on our blog.



The Lay Centre is home to an international ecumenical and interreligious student community, engaging in “a dialogue of daily life”. Residents are offered cultural, spiritual and social activities that complement their studies and equip them for leadership.
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The Lay Centre hosts international programs that make the Eternal City come alive as a place of learning and encounter for groups of university students, professors, and administrators from around the world. Programs include courses, seminars and retreats on various themes.
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The Lay Centre serves as a point of reference for laity in Rome and is active in the local Church, offering retreats and continued faith formation classes through its Vincent Pallotti Institute. Each year, The Lay Centre welcomes the general public for major events on current social and religious issues.
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Donna Orsuto

Donna Orsuto
Donna Orsuto is a professor of spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Originally from the United States, she also lectures and gives retreats worldwide. She has authored two books and numerous articles in the area of spirituality. Active in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, Dr. Orsuto served a term as a consultor for the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and is currently a member of Commission for Ecumenism and Dialogue of the Diocese of Rome. Pope Benedict XVI named her a Dame of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great in 2011.

Riekie van Velzen

Riekie van Velzen
Riekie van Velzen is an artist, whose work ranges from iconography and ancient painting techniques to digital. Her pieces are exhibited in private collections worldwide and her sacred works have been commissioned for several Italian churches. Through art, she also raises awareness about ecology. A native of the Netherlands, she is a proud grandmother and the mother of two. She and her husband recently moved “back to nature”, outside Rome, where they grow fruit trees and a vegetable garden. Pope Benedict XVI named her a Dame of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Sylvester in 2011.

Join Us

The Lay Centre offers quiet rooms in a safe and welcoming environment, three meals daily, Internet and telephone connectivity to students attending pontifical universities in Rome and visiting scholars, between 1 October and 30 June. Students who live at The Lay Centre are eager to share in an active community life; dialogue with other international students from different faiths; partake in the spiritual life of the centre; and participate in the service of hospitality that is part of The Lay Centre mission.


The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas relies on the generosity of its friends to continue its unique mission in the Church and in the world. We thank you for your gift, large or small.


Made payable to: “The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas”
The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas
Largo della Sanità Militare, 60
00184 Rome, Italy

Wire Transfers
Unicredit Banca
Piazza Navona 46/48 00186
Roma, ITALY tel. +39 06 8782 6402

All Transfers
IBAN: IT 64 P 02008 05311 000003945222
BIC (swiftcode): UNCRITMMXXX


By wire transfer within the U.S.
Destination Bank: Citibank NA New York
Bank ABA: 021000089
Account Name: Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
Account Number: 4055-3953
Bank Address: 111 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005
For further credit to: Account # 5425-8228, in the name of “The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas”
By U.S. Dollar cheque 
Made payable to: “The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas”
Attn.: Megan Brune
901 South Bond St., Suite 400
Baltimore, MD 21231
The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas is a legally recognized institute in Italy. In the United States, it is incorporated
as a not-for-profit corporation and is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.


The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas

Sede secondaria in Italia
Largo della Sanità Militare, 60
00184 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 06 772 6761
Fax: +39 06 772 676 235
p.IVA – c.f. 04359941004
Iscr. alla C.C.I.A.A. di Roma al n. REA 0899422


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