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Homeless Woman Gives Birth in Saint Peter’s Square

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Serge Vincent-cc

Elizabeth Scalia - published on 01/20/16

On a cold night, a mother's cry of pain was heard by police guarding the Vatican ...

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, January 20, two police officers assisted as a homeless woman gave birth to a baby girl, in a colonnaded area adjacent to Saint Peter’s Square.

The 36-year-old mother, Maria Claudia, and her baby have been taken to Santo Spirito hospital, near Saint Peter’s Basilica, where both are doing well.

Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, an office that practices charity for the poor in the name of the pope, has offered a home to the Romanian woman, for at least a year, in a property owned by the Vatican and currently administered by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.

Police were alerted to the woman’s situation when her cries broke into the predawn silence of Saint Peter’s Square. Locating the woman, and realizing that the birth was imminent, the officers radioed for help and then — using available blankets, a police jacket and water from a thermos — helped deliver the baby, who has been named Irene.

Federico Lombarid, SJ, of the Vatican Press Office, said that Maria Claudia had been offered help several times previously by the almoner’s office, “but the offer was always refused. The lady, however, could make use of the showers and other services that Francis has made available to the homeless in the Vatican area.”

The massive colonnades of Saint Peter’s, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini to signify the outstretched arms of the church, have become a refuge for some homeless people, who gather there at night to sleep. Krajewski will frequently, with the help of volunteers from the Swiss Guards, distribute food and blankets there in the name of the pope.

Related:
Pope Surprises Vatican’s Guests at New Dormitory for Homeless

Aleteia Spanish edition: Mujer indigente da a luz cerca al Vaticano, limosnero del Papa le ofrece vivienda


Elizabeth Scalia
is Editor-in-Chief of Aleteia’s English edition

Tags:
Poverty
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