A new shelter for homeless people has been opened in Rome by the General House of the Jesuits, as a gift to their confrere, Pope Francis.
The shelter is called “Dono di Misericordia” (Gift of Mercy) and it was established near Santo Spirito Hospital and the Church of the same name in Rome. In an extraterritorial zone, the dormitory is a gift to the Pope from the General House of the Society of Jesus in response to the Pope’s appeal to religious communities and orders to house people in need or in difficulty in their properties.
It is a “Gift of Mercy” as it is offered as a gift from the community, and mercy is the second name of the love expressed through concrete and generous gestures towards others, according to a press release from the Apostolic Almoner, which financed and carried out the works necessary to adapt the structure to the needs of its users. It was funded by the proceeds from the sale of parchments of the Apostolic Blessing and by generous contributions from private individuals. The Almoner, along with the Sisters of Mother Teresa, will continue to provide economic support for the Dormitory.
The structure is able to house 34 men. The religious sisters administering the shelter are those who already assist people in need at Termini Station and San Gregorio Magno al Celio. According to the regulations of the Gift of Mercy Dormitory, guests are received following an interview with the Sisters for reception and registration of applicants (at the Casa Dono di Maria in the Vatican), and may stay for a maximum period of 30 days. There is a precise timetable regarding entry into the dormitory (between 6 and 7 p.m.), waking time (6.15 a.m.) and closing time (8 a.m., to allow general tidying and cleaning). There are also rules regarding personal hygiene and the personal maintenance of each bed and closet.
Guests who stay the night may also dine at the canteen at the Casa Dono di Maria before arriving at the Dormitory, and are offered breakfast prepared at the Dormitory before they leave. They may use the showers available under the Colonnade of St. Peter’s Square.
It should be recalled that since 1988, in the Casa Dono di Maria in the Vatican, 50 beds are available to accommodate women for overnight stays, of which around 30 are occupied on a stable basis.