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Pope blesses ambulance for poor in memory of homeless woman rejected by EMT crew

© Vatican Media

VaticanNews.va - published on 06/02/20

The vehicle will be at the service of various charities overseen by papal almoner

On the morning of Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis blessed a Vatican ambulance which will serve the poor of Rome.

The pope entrusted the ambulance to the Office of Papal Charities, under the direction of Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner.

According to a statement from the Holy See Press Office, the ambulance belongs to the Vatican’s fleet and has SCV (Vatican) license plates.

It will now be used exclusively to assist “the poorest, who remain almost invisible to Institutions.”

Abandoned and alone

The statement recalls the “sad ordeal of Modesta Valenti, an elderly homeless woman to whom the city of Rome has dedicated a street.”

On January 31, 1983, after a long, cold night sleeping rough outside Termini train station, she felt ill.

“Several passers-by called an ambulance, which declined to assist her because of her poor hygiene,” reads the statement. “After four long hours, several hospitals refused to take responsibility for her. Modesta was left on the ground, suffering. She died before an ambulance finally arrived.”

The newly blessed ambulance will assist other initiatives overseen by the Papal Almoner.

These include a mobile clinic used to provide care to the poor in Rome’s poorer neighborhoods, as well as the Mother of Mercy Clinic, set up in the Colonnade of St. Peter’s Square which offers first-aid care to homeless people in the area.

© Vatican Media

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