But get this: Vatican officials urged the contractors to hire the homeless for the renovations. They did … and are now bringing them on as employees
Francis gave the papal blessing Friday to a new 4-story “palace for the poor” opening right beside the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square. But one of the coolest parts of this story is behind the scenes: The construction company that renovated the “palace” employed a group of homeless people, at the Vatican’s urging. The company was so impressed by their work ethic that it hired them.
The palace still carries the name of the Roman family that built it in the 1800s: Palazzo Migliori – “Palace of the Best.”
Acquired by the Vatican in the 1930s, the building recently became empty when a congregation of religious sisters left.
Pope Francis personally directed his Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, to turn it into a refuge where the homeless and poor of Rome can sleep, eat, and learn.
The charitable operation is staffed and run by the Catholic lay Sant’Egidio Community.
In a communique, Cardinal Krajewski described how the palace is to be used.
The upper two floors are dormitories where around 50 men and women can sleep, though it is able host more when Roman temperatures plummet and the need is greater.
Those guests are offered breakfast and supper in a 2nd-floor refectory.
Volunteers will also be able to use the kitchen to prepare hot meals to be distributed in the evenings to the homeless who find shelter at one of Rome’s train stations.
During the day, the bottom two floors provide space for volunteers to teach computer classes. There is also space for reading, recreation, and psychological counseling.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?