· An initiative of the Office of Papal Charities on Via dei Penitenzieri ·
Almost one week ago, a new homeless shelter opened on Via dei Penitenzieri, just outside of Santo Spirito Hospital. On Thursday, 7 October, the Feast of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, the shelter officially opened with a blessing and a Mass celebrated by Papal Almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski.
Present at Mass were the guests and volunteers of the shelter. The large space, which is located in an extra-territorial area and was, until recently, a travel agency, was a gift to Pope Francis from the Society of Jesus' Generalate House, situated around the corner. In this way, the Jesuit community responded to the Pontiff's call to allocate buildings to people in need and in difficulty.
The shelter is called: “Dono di misericordia.” [the gift of mercy]. “Gift”, because it is a true gift from the religious community and “of mercy” because mercy is another name for love, which is expressed through practical and generous action for one's neighbor.
The shelter holds up to 34 men, and like the other shelters on Via Rattazzi, near Termini Station, and at San Gregorio al Celio, it will be run by the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Special rules helps to manage good reception at the shelter. All guests must meet with the sisters before their acceptance and registration (which takes place at the “Dono di Maria” in the Vatican) and they may stay overnight for a maximum of 30 days. A strict schedule regulates guests' entry, as well as the time they go to bed and wake up. There is time for personal hygiene and for making their bed and cleaning up their belongings. In addition the guests all participate in the general cleaning of the house.
Those staying the night may eat dinner at the “Dono di Maria” soup kitchen, before returning to the shelter for the night. Breakfast is provided at the shelter on Via dei Penitenzieri and the guests will have access to the showers located in the colonnade at St Peter's.
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