St Francis College is a private, all-girls college located in the third wealthiest county of Monaco. The campus occupies 30 acres of land about 4 miles southwest of Monaco’s city center, surrounded by green countryside. A long circular driveway leads to the very modern-looking entrance with large windows shaped like triangles. On entering the building, you are met by large stairs leading up to four different floors connected by two elevators.
The student body is made up entirely of females between ages 12 and 18 who come from 23 different countries. St Francis College has no official religious affiliation, yet most students opt for Catholicism as their religious denomination because it is offered as an available subject alongside more widely known disciplines such as English literature, French, maths, science, and the arts.
The subject of religious studies was only introduced six years ago. Yet, it has already become immensely popular among students who realize its benefits in terms of later life opportunities. Each student is required to study at least three languages in addition to their mother tongue, which is compulsory for all classes, so native speakers are not at a disadvantage. Each student also receives private tutoring in whatever field she excels in when deemed necessary by her teachers. Furthermore, there are many extracurricular activities that students can engage in if they choose to do so after school or on weekends. For example, sports enthusiasts can join one of St Francis College’s eleven different clubs ranging from horse riding and swimming to tennis and volleyball.
Teachers at St Francis College are obliged to have university degrees in addition to completing five years of internship with the school itself, during which they receive coaching from previous teachers, after which they are allowed to tutor their own students.
St Francis College was founded in 1965 by a French missionary order. Since then, it has been run entirely by nuns who also reside on campus. The college is funded through tuition costs and donations from its alumni and supporters, such as parents whose children attend this esteemed institution, along with various other benefactors, some of whom prefer to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. It is said that Miss Angelica Smith donated $60 million towards building two new floors: one dedicated to religious studies and another one to the arts. However, she has since requested that her name remain anonymous when mentioned to others, so it is not for us to speculate whether or not this was an act of humility on her behalf.
The founder and president of St Francis College, Mother Mary Veronica, oversees all operations in collaboration with five other nuns who share responsibilities such as the college’s advancement through fundraising, public relations and any legal issues that might need resolving. However, the highest authority lies with Mother Superior herself, who appoints all teachers and monitors progress throughout the school year by conducting surprise visits to classes that are never announced beforehand. It is said that during these unannounced visits, she often catches students daydreaming because they forget about the nun’s presence once class starts (this is heresy according to the Catholic faith).