A natural-size bronze sculpture of Jesus, represented as a homeless person resting on a bench, covered except for his feet, which bear the wounds of the crucifixion, has been placed for the duration of Holy Week in the Sant’Egidio Courtyard in the Vatican, at the entrance to the offices of the Apostolic Almoner.
The work is by the Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz, who had the idea of representing Christ in this original way after seeing a homeless man sleeping on a bench in the open air during the Christmas period. A smaller copy was presented to Pope Francis during a general audience in St. Peter’s Square in November 2013. The artist recounts that the Holy Father, upon seeing the work, touched its knees and feet and prayed.
The statue, donated to the Apostolic Almoner by the sculptor, is cast in bronze from the original. The first cast is located in Regis College, in the Jesuit Faculty of Toronto, Canada. There are other copies of “Homeless Jesus” in Australia, Cuba, India, Ireland, Spain and the United States, while another statue by Schmalz, “Whatsoever you do,” is located at the main entrance of the “Santo Spirito” Hospital, Rome.