The Saint Damien Community
A collaborative project of KU Leuven, Université Catholique de Louvain, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Belgian Bishop’s Conference.
The Community of Saint Damien is an intentional community for students to come together in faith, worship, and the pursuit of knowledge situated in one wing of the historic, recently renovated building called the Amerikaans College.
The newly renovated American College is open and is welcoming a new intentional community of students coming to Belgium to pursue studies in Theology, Philosophy, or Canon Law. This community is named the St. Damien Community after the great Flemish priest and missionary St. Damien of Molokai, who is a clear example of the ties historically existing between Belgium and the United States. The St. Damien Community is open to any qualified American who has been accepted into the Theology, Philosophy, and Canon Law degree programs in Leuven or in the Theology, Philosophy and Canon Law programs in Louvain-la-Neuve. The community is envisioned as including both priests sent to Belgium to pursue canonical or civil degrees as well as lay people who wish to pursue degrees in order to serve the Church. It will offer students the opportunity to live in an intentional community with other fellow Americans who are studying in Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve, and intends to offer a ‘home away from home’ as students begin settling into their new life in Belgium.
The American College, founded in 1857, began as a seminary to train future Catholic priests for missionary service in the United States of America. The Native American face on the College building served as a reminder to those in formation of the original people of North America.
The Belgian people continue to generously share the gift of their Universities, the hospitality of their peoples, and the beauty of their land with those seeking deeper meaning in service to God.