In the interview segment this week, my guest is Jesuit Fr. Michael Maher. Father is a native of Milwaukee, a scholar and an expert on the Belgium-based Society of Bollandists. Named after the Flemish Jesuit Jean Bollandus, the Bollandists are an association of scholars and historians who since the early 17th century have studied the lives of the saints. This week in Part II, Father and I talk about research, how to distinguish between fact and legend and the challenges that must be overcome in research such as knowing ancient languages or even penmanship, and the amazing, unique Bollandist library. By the way, as I mentioned last week in Part I, he is a friend of EWTN’s Fr. Mitch Pacwa (another celebrated Jesuit).

The following photos were taken on two different occasions when Fr. Michael, after a guided tour of the Gesu church and St. Ignatius Loyola’s living quarters, offered us some refreshments on the church’s rooftop terrace! The wonderful late afternoon Roman sun, then the setting sun opens onto the magic of Rome by night.

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As the sun sets

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And it’s nighttime in Rome –

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Soon, in a “coming attraction.” I’ll bring you some stunning photos of the Gesu church, and the rooms that St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, lived in that are both adjacent to and part of the Gesu. After that visit, Father Maher was also our guide on a visit to the church of St. Ignatius.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.


I could not post this on Facebook simply by clicking on the FB icon on this article so I offer the link to the entire story – one of the most interesting items you may well read all day! The title is the key to this fascinating story and, to whet your appetite, here are the first three paragraphs (the story has some fairly amazing photos as well):

“When a ceramic relief depicting the Madonna with Child was returned to the church of Scansano in Tuscany, Italy, after five decades of absence, the town threw a solemn celebration. The local bishop, priest, prefect, mayor, and law enforcement officials all attended. On a September morning in 2020, a crowd gathered. The torso-sized relief was propped up, surrounded by plants. A band blared nearby.

“The relief, by celebrated Renaissance sculptor Andrea della Robbia, had been stolen on a summer night in 1971, and had been missing ever since. “I was a kid, but I remember it there, on the altar,” mayor Francesco Marchi told the Italian publication La Repubblica. “I remember the dismay the day after the theft.”

“After Italian authorities found and seized the priceless artwork in Canada, but before it made its return to Scansano, the relief spent a few months in a little-known vault tucked away at the edge of Trastevere, a district of central Rome where, under normal circumstances, swarms of tourists would stroll among washing strung above their heads, climbing plants, and all manner of eateries. On the ground floor of an unremarkable orange, three-story building, behind a 20-foot wall, and under the 24/7 gaze of carabinieri surveillance, the Madonna sat among hundreds of Roman sarcophagi, Renaissance paintings, and legendary violins. Every item that finds itself in the vault has one thing in common: a brush with crime.” Inside Rome’s Secure Vault for Stolen Art – Atlas Obscura



Il Gesu, the Jesuit ‘Mother church’ in Rome…..

Original altar: (designed by Antonio Sarti (1797–1880), was constructed towards the middle of the 19th century).

‘new’ altar (photo credit via Jeanne Smits tweet)

Interestingly enough, a wikipedia history of this church notes that “Although Michelangelo, at the request of the Spanish cardinal Bartolomeo de la Cueva, offered, out of devotion, to design the church for free, the endeavor was funded by  Cardinal Alessandro Farnese grandson of Pope Paul III. the pope who had authorized the founding of the Society of Jesus.” Construction began in 1568.

The Jesuits were suppressed worldwide in 1773 by Pope Clement XIV but restored 41 years later by Pope Pius VII.



Who knows how many other men and women religious from other countries live and work in Afghanistan and are now stranded there or attempting to leave! Even if we do not know names, let’s spiritually adopt a priest or nun or brother who might be desperately needing our prayers in this moment!  The Lord will know who they are!


Two Jesuits and four Missionary of Charity (MC) nuns are stranded in Afghanistan, as the country and its capital fell to the Taliban. Afghans as well as foreigners are trying to flee the country amid pandemonium and chaos at Kabul airport.

By Vatican News staff writer

Two Jesuits stranded in strife-torn Afghanistan have sought prayers as the Taliban militants took control of the troubled south-east Asian nation.  “Thank you for your continuous prayers for our safety. The way the situation is changing in the country, it is anyone’s imagination … safety does not make sense here. It is a chaotic situation,” Indian priest Father Jerome Sequeira, the country head of the Jesuit mission in Afghanistan, wrote in a message to his friends and colleagues.

Afghanistan fell to the Taliban after the United States ended its 20 years of operations there.  A relative calm reigned in the Afghan capital Kabul on August 16, a day after its president fled and the Taliban installed themselves in the presidential palace.  However, Kabul airport was a scene of pandemonium and roads leading to it were clogged with traffic and people, as thousands scrambled to flee the country in panic.

KABUL (Vatican media – AFP or licensors)

Missionaries of Charity nuns
Four Missionaries of Charity (MC) nuns are also stranded in Afghanistan and will probably be moved to their countries, UCA News reported.  “Our two priests are stuck in Afghanistan and are waiting for their evacuation,” said a Jesuit priest based in the Indian capital New Delhi. “We have also suspended our mission in Afghanistan indefinitely as we are not sure when the situation will improve,” he said.  A senior nun at the Missionaries of Charity headquarters in eastern India’s Kolkata city confirmed that four of their nuns are in Afghanistan, including an Indian.  She gave no details of the other three, fearing for their safety.  The Missionaries of Charity, which St. Teresa of Kolkata founded in 1950, arrived in Kabul in 2004 for humanitarian work.

The two Jesuit priests and the Missionary of Charity nun are among many Indians waiting for the Indian government’s evacuation flights to get them out of the country.

Fr. Sequeira in Kabul
Father Sequeira, who works for the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), had gone to Kabul airport to take the 10:45 flight to India. “It resembled a chaotic railway station,” he told Matters India August 16 evening, speaking from “a secure place” in the city.  He said he came to the country in 2006 and never in the past 15 years has he seen such a breakdown of system.

He narrated how he had to drag his luggage as large crowds and vehicles jammed the roads. “Thousands of people are trying to flee. I managed to reach the second gate but then Taliban were shooting in the air and trying to control the crowd. Before, my reaching, thousands of people had managed to enter the airport building but the entire airport staff had abandoned the place. Without any security check and boarding passes people had gone into the flight,” Father Sequeira said.

He referred to images on social media showing people clinging on to a US military aircraft on the tarmac as it tried to take off.  “In this chaotic situation no flight will land at the moment. Seeing this senseless situation, no country will dare to fly to Kabul at the moment. It was a terrifying experience,” said the Jesuit priest who works for the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).

Fr. Rodrigues in Bamiyan
The other Jesuit Father Robert Rodrigues from southern India’s Karnataka state is stuck in Bamiyan in central Afghanistan.  He managed to get inside Bamiyan airport in the evening on August 15, checked in and was awaiting a United Nations flight to land, which would fly him to Kabul some 25 minutes away.  Meanwhile, the situation changed dramatically and the entire airport security personnel just abandoned the airport.

Father Sequeira said Father Rodrigues is safe and was “much better and relaxed” on August 16.  “We are seeking possible ways to evacuate him from Bamiyan to Kabul through the help of UN agencies,” Father Sequeira said.

Taliban taking over system

According to him, the Taliban is busy in occupying government systems and putting their own persons. “They are not harming the civilians at the moment but it will come once they have fully captured all the systems of the country. They have the list of all organizations and profile too. In some places they have started door-to-door enquiries about the personnel of the organization,” Father Sequeira’s message explained.

He said the Jesuit Refugee Service has indefinitely suspended its activities in Afghanistan “and all are hibernating in their homes or communities.”  “All flights are cancelled and it all depends on the agreement between UN bodies and the Taliban.” He said the entire JRS body is putting all efforts to evacuate him and Father Rodrigues. “At the moment, I am safe,” Father Sequeira wrote.

The JRS country head lamented how the international community could have given up the country to the Taliban after investing and establishing so much in 20 years.  “With the way the Taliban took over provinces, all thought it would take some 90 days for them to reach Kabul. But they swept over the capital in ten days,” he added.  According to him, the Taliban militants have taken control of 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.

Meanwhile, the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed worries that the upheaval caused by the Taliban takeover is compromising the country’s other battle against the coronavirus.  It said the chaos has slowed the vaccination programme.  It is concerned over the unfolding safety and humanitarian needs in the country, including risk of disease outbreaks and rise in Covid-19 transmission.

14 years of Jesuit mission in Afghanistan
Father Stany D’Souza, president of the Jesuit Conference of South Asia, said both the Jesuits are safe, adding they are in touch with them.  Until last month, the Jesuits had planned to continue their mission in Afghanistan.

Saint Pope John Paul II established a mission sui juris for Afghanistan on May 16, 2002, and entrusted it to the Barnabite fathers.  Two years later the Jesuits ventured into the country to help the Afghan people rebuild their war-ravaged nation through education.

The JRS launched programmes to educate the youth, especially the internally displaced persons, returnees from neighboring countries and other vulnerable sections.  The Jesuits have trained more than 300 young teachers and through them were educating more than 25,000 children in four provinces. Young girls were major beneficiaries of the Jesuit mission in a country still haunted by memories of the Taliban’s anti-female attitude before it was toppled in 2001.  The Indian Jesuits were also involved in livelihood interventions.

They too had their troubles with the Taliban. On June 2, 2014, suspected Taliban fighters abducted JRS director Father Alexis Prem Kumar, who was accompanying teachers on a visit to a school for refugees in the village of Sohadat, some 500 miles west of Kabul.  The priest from southern India’s Tamil Nadu state was held handcuffed during most of his 8-month captivity. His release on February 22, 2015 was secured with the help of the Indian government.

However, the Jesuits’ links with Afghanistan go back more than 400 years.  In 1581, Mughal Emperor Akbar took along a Jesuit priest from Agra in northern India to Kabul.  A year later, in 1582, Jesuit Brother Bento de Goes stopped at Kabul on his way to China.  But there was no lasting Jesuit presence in the country.   (Source: Matters India, UCA News)





Pope Francis travels to Naples on Friday to take part in a conference that will discuss the impact of the Apostolic Constitution, Veritatis Gaudium, on theological studies.

By Linda Bordoni (vaticannews)

During his one-day visit to the southern Italian city of Naples on June 21, Pope Francis will deliver a speech entitled “Theology after Veritatis Gaudium in the context of the Mediterranean.”

The event takes place within an initiative that brings experts to the table to discuss theology in connection with the current context in the Mediterranean area that is impacted by migration, inter-culturality and in need of inter-religious and ecumenical dialogue.

The event is hosted by the Jesuits who run the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy in Naples. Pope Francis will be welcomed by the city’s archbishop, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, and by the dean of the faculty. During his visit, he will lunch with Jesuits from across the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Pope Francis’ apostolic constitution Veritatis Gaudium was published in January 2018, and stipulated new norms of governance and education for all institutions that issue ecclesiastical degrees.

In it, the Pope urges theologians and philosophers to always be open to the maius [greatness] of God and of the truth, which is always in development. The constitution also calls for institutions to develop procedures for the education of refugees and migrants.

Jesuit Father Pino Di Luccio, is the dean of the faculty. He told Vatican Radio that the programme for the event foresees a series of interventions that will shine the light on the new context in Mediterranean countries impacted by immigration and inter-culturality. He said speakers will focus on the crucial contribution of dialogue between religions.

Father Di Luccio said that the recent Abu Dhabi Document on Human Fraternity, signed by the Pope and by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, will also offer points of discussion and reflection.

He said that, “assuming the criteria of Veritatis Gaudium for the renewal of ecclesiastic studies, [the objective is] to elaborate a theology for the new context of the Mediterranean.”

Father Di Luccio also said he expects that the Pope himself, who calls for dialogue as a way of building a new, fraternal society, “will show us how this dialogue can be actualized in theological studies in order to elaborate a new theology” in the Mediterranean context.


An update: Day 24 without gas. A number of the families in the apartments above mine have gas water heaters so they have been without hot water this entire time! Some workers came Wednesday for about 3 hours in the morning to start building the scaffolding that will be necessary to install the new gas line and link it to all of the apartments currently without gas. The main line is under the sidewalk so it seems that’s where the work will start – digging down to the main line.

Thursday workers came for about 4 hours to work again on the scaffolding. No one came today. As far as I could see, the scaffolding did not reach the apartment on the topmost floor. I do not know as I write if the workers were from the Vatican as this is a Vatican-owned building, or from Italgas. So hard to believe this in a civilized nation!


Join me this weekend on “Vatican Insider” as I continue to explore all things Gregorian, including the Gregorian University Foundation with its president, Jesuit Fr. Alan Fogarty. Last weekend in Part I of our conversation, Fr. Alan told us all about the Foundation’s three offices in the U.S., Canada and Rome and gave us a glimpse into the fascinating history of the Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Oriental Institute, all located in Rome.

We learned about the “Greg,” as the faculty, students and staff fondly call the Roman university, when Fr. Alan explained its long history, including its Saints and Blesseds and Popes – great stories and interesting statistics! This week in Part II, Fr, Alan focuses on his day-to-day work at the Foundation and it’s equally as interesting.

How to listen to Vatican Insider: This is updated information!
IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)



My special guest this weekend in the interview segment of “Vatican Insider” is Fr. Alan Fogarty, president of the Jesuit run-Gregorian University Foundation. Fr. Alan will tell us all about his work, the Foundation’s three offices in the U.S., Canada and Rome and the fascinating history behind the Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Orientale Institute. So stay tuned to learn about the Greg, the university’s nickname, its long history, its saints and blessed and Popes – great stories and interesting statistics!

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. Outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: For VI archives:


For those of you who are passionate about all things Italian, but principally the restaurants and the gelato, here’s something for you to savor over the weekend – two links from TheLocal to quench that thirst. TheLocal is an online newspaper in English and if you also crave news about Rome and Italy, this is the place to go.



I had a fairly amazing evening last night but I should never really be surprised at what happens or whom I should meet when I go to La Vittoria restaurant!

At 7:30, I met a friend from the States who was in Rome for a few days of work at the Order of Malta. It was fairly quiet at La Vittoria but at one point, a bit late, a group of 8 men came in and sat down together. I was trying to understand what language they spoke but without success. They were enjoying dinner and conversing in low tones and I kept wondering about the dialect or language.

As Margaret and I were leaving, Valentino, one of the waiters told us these men were from the Maltese island of Gozo and were building the Vatican’s Nativity scene (It has a Malta theme)!! Well, I pivoted as fast as I could and went back into the main room to their table, introduced myself – they all knew EWTN! – and got the story and a few photos! We spoke in English. Manuel, who seemed to be the head builder or at least spokesperson, told me they start building today and the scene will be unveiled December 9th. They invited me to come ‘behind the scenes’, so to speak and I will do that as soon as possible. Of course I can’t do any photos before the 9th but what fun it would be in any case.

Shortly before I met the Maltese crew, a young man came to my table and introduced himself as a big fan of my work on EWTN, telling me in particular how his brief, 36 hours in Rome had benefited greatly by my book on the Holy Year. Paul is from Kansas City, MO., and when he learned of the Nativity scene builders, he took one of these photos.



As I’ve written so many times on this page, “life in the fast lane!”


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Monday with religious and civil authorities who organized the recently concluded Jubilee Year of Mercy, including members of the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization, headed by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, as well as police chiefs and Italian officials in charge of local and regional security.

Pope Francis spoke of the origin of his idea for a year of mercy, describing it as “a simple intuition” which the Lord transformed into a celebration of faith and joy for Christian communities throughout the world.


The opening of doors of mercy in so many cathedrals and shrines, he went on, enabled people to freely experience the love of God in their lives. The fruits of this extraordinary event must now become part of our daily living, he said, so that mercy truly becomes a permanent lifestyle for all Christians.

The Pope went on to thank all those individuals and organizations who worked hard to guarantee the safety and smooth running of the jubilee, which officially concluded on November 20th, the final Sunday of the liturgical year.

In particular, he mentioned Italy’s Home Affairs minister, the regional Lazio authorities and local chiefs of police who worked together with the Swiss Guards,  Vatican police and other offices of the Holy See to ensure a positive experience for the millions of pilgrims who travelled to Rome over the past year.

Last, but not least, he thanked members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization and all the volunteers from different parts of the world who worked so hard to transform this event into a real moment of grace. “May your efforts,” he concluded, “be rewarded by the experience of mercy which the Lord will not fail to grant you.”


POPE FRANCIS HAS SENT A TELEGRAM TO the newly-elected superior general of the Jesuit Order, Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, upon learning of the death of Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, the former head of the Society of Jesus, who died in Beirut on Saturday, just days short of his 88th birthday. The Pope sent the telegram in his own name, recalling Father Kolbach’s career. His fidelity to the Gospel: Hearing the news of the pious death of the Reverend Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., the former Superior General of the Company of Jesus, I desire to express to you and to the whole Jesuit family my heartfelt condolences. Recalling the integral fidelity of Father Kolvenbach to Christ and His Gospel, joined to a generous commitment in exercising his office with a spirit of service for the good of the Church, I lift up my prayers of suffrage, invoking, from the divine mercy, eternal peace for his soul. Spiritually present at the funeral rites, I cordially impart to you, to your brothers, and to those who share the sorrow for this loss, the Apostolic Blessing.

POPE FRANCIS RECEIVED IRELAND’S PRIME MINISTER Enda Kenny on Monday. A Vatican communiqué said the two “evoked the historical ties between the Holy See and Ireland, and underlined the continued contribution ensured by the Catholic Church in the fields of education and social service.” They also “spoke of the importance of the role of Christians in the public sphere, especially in promoting respect for the dignity of every person, beginning with the weakest and most defenseless.” Other topics included “an exchange of views on Europe, with particular reference to migration, youth employment and the main challenges that the continent has to deal with, from the political point of view and institutional.” Dublin, Ireland was chosen by Francis as the site of the next World Meeting of Families in 2018.



Pope Francis paid a visit this morning to the Generalate of the Jesuits on Borgo Santo Spirito, just blocks from Vatican City, as the Order founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola meets in its 36th general Congregation. The Jesuits elected a new superior during this congregation, Father General Arturo Sosa.

The following report and photos are from the Congregation website:

There is a well-established tradition that on the occasion of a Jesuit General Congregation, the Holy Father meets with the delegates. Since most of the time this happens as an audience in the rooms of the Vatican, there is not a precedent for the pope himself choosing to meet the Jesuits as they are gathered in the General Congregation in the curia of the Society. So this Monday, 24 October, Pope Francis came discreetly to the curia and was greeted by Father General Arturo Sosa and the superior of the curia community, Father Joaquín Barrero.


These two accompanied him into the aula, and the Pope participated in morning prayer with the delegates. The theme of the prayer, the good shepherd, had been chosen for the occasion. The Ignatian tradition reflection made a reference to Fr. Franz van de Lugt, who made himself pastor of his own in Homs, Syria, until he was killed by the insanity of war. The members of the Congregation prayed for Pope Francis, as he often requests of all those he meets.

Pope Francis came to the General Congregation with a message. He gave an encouraging speech that set a direction. The speech gave a good idea of the manner in which he is coming to see the service of the Church and of the world that the Society of Jesus can offer, a relevant way connected to his own ministry. His whole intervention was characterized by an openness to what lies ahead, a call to go further, a support for caminar, the way of journeying that allows Jesuits to go toward others and to walk with them on their own journey.


To start out, quoting Saint Ignatius, the Pope recalled that a Jesuit is called to converse and thereby to bring life to birth “in every part of the world where a greater service of God and help for souls is expected.” Precisely for this reason, the Jesuits must go forward, taking advantage of the situations in which they find themselves, always to serve more and better. This implies a way of doing things that aims for harmony in the contexts of tension that are normal in a world with diverse persons and missions. The Pope mentioned explicitly the tensions between contemplation and action, between faith and justice, between charism and institution, between community and mission.

The Holy Father detailed three areas of the Society’s path; we will come back to each of them in the coming days.


The first is to “ask insistently for consolation.” It is proper to the Society to know how to console, to bring consolation and real joy; the Jesuits must put themselves at the service of joy, for the Good News cannot be announced in sadness.

Next, Francis invites us to “allow ourselves to be moved by the Lord on the cross.” The Jesuits must get close to the vast majority of men and women who suffer, and, in this context, it must offer various services of mercy in various forms. The Pope underlined certain elements that he had already had occasion to present throughout the jubilee year of mercy. We who have been touched by mercy must feel ourselves sent to present this same mercy and, he added, in an effective way.

Finally, the Holy Father invites us to go forward under the influence of the “good spirit.” This implies always discerning, which is more than simply reflecting, how to act in communion with the Church. The Jesuits must be not “clerical” but “ecclesial.” They are “men for others” who live in the midst of all peoples, trying to touch the heart of each person, contributing in this way to establishing a Church in which all have their place, in which the Gospel is inculturated, and in which each culture is evangelized.


These three last words of the Pope’s speech are graces for which each Jesuit and the whole Society must always ask: consolation, compassion, and discernment.

Here is a link to Pope Francis’ talk to the Jesuits this morning:




Shortly after 7 p.m. yesterday, the Holy Father visited the newly-inaugurated dormitory for the homeless, just blocks from St. Peter’s Square on Via dei Penitenzieri. The building was provided by the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, the Order to which Pope Francis belongs, and is managed by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. Volunteers also work here and all this is under the auspices of the Office of the Apostolic Almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski.

dormitory poipe   2

Perhaps those of outside the synod hall last night at 7 when Pope Francis exited, visited with some of the prelates and then got into his car, should have suspected something was up. That all sounds fairly normal, but to be honest, Pope Francis usually walks back to the Santa Marta after a synod session as this residence is only a couple hundred yards from the Paul VI Hall. In addition, I thought the car seemed to be heading, not in the direction of the Santa Marta but outside the Vatican.

The Pope was welcomed by Abp. Krajewski, Fr. Adolfo Nicolàs, Jesuit superior general, Fr. Joachin Barrero, superior of the nearby community of the Jesuit generalate, three Sisters of Mother Teresa and several volunteers.

He personally greeted each of the 30 guests as they gathered in the common room and then, as the Pope visited the structure, they stayed near their beds. Francis stayed about 30 minutes, according to a Vatican account, and seemed visibly moved and delighted by the encounter.


The dormitory, inaugurated October 7, is named “Gift of Mercy” because – as Abp- Krajewski explained at the time – it is a ‘gift’ from the Society of Jesus and ‘mercy’ is love’s second name.” He also said it’s the community’s way of responding to Pope Francis’ appeal to religious institutions to offer buildings to be placed in the service of the needy and those in difficulty.

We learned that the dormitory can host up to 34 men a night and that there are specific regulations in place to make sure the dormitory runs smoothly. The nuns interview, admit and register those seeking shelter who can stay for a maximum of 30 days; guests can arrive each day between 6 and 7pm; then lights-out, rest and wake-up at 6.15am in time for personal hygiene, bed-making and tidying up. The dorm shuts at 8am for cleaning.

Also run by the Missionaries of Charity and financed by the Papal Office of Charities, is the “Gift of Mary,” a dormitory near the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that has offered shelter to homeless women since 1988.





(Vatican Radio) Just as winter begins to set in, Pope Francis and his Jesuit brothers have made sure there are extra beds in town for those who find themselves facing life out on the streets during the cold winter nights.

The new Rome dormitory for the homeless bears the name “Gift of Mercy,” because – as the Apostolic Almoner, Bishop Konrad Krajewski explains – it is a ‘gift’ from the Society of Jesus and ‘mercy’ is love’s second name. (Photo:


The building, which previously hosted a travel agency, belongs to the Jesuit community.

Krajewsky says it’s the community’s way of responding to Pope Francis’ appeal to religious institutions to offer buildings to be placed in the service of the needy and those in difficulty.

Just round the corner from the Vatican, in Via dei Penitenzieri, the dormitory was restructured and furnished by the Papal Office of Charities through offerings collected by the faithful,  and  is run by nuns from Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.

Last week’s inauguration took place with the blessing of the locals and Holy Mass, celebrated by Bishop Krajewski and attended by the dorm’s first guests and by volunteers.

Krajewski explains that it can host up to 34 men a night that there are specific regulations in place to make sure the dormitory runs smoothly.

First of all the nuns interview, admit and register those seeking shelter who can stay for a maximum of 30 days; guests can arrive each day  between 6 and 7pm; then lights-out, rest and wake-up at 6.15am in time for personal hygiene, bed-making and tidying up. The dorm shuts at 8am for cleaning.

Also run by the Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity and financed by the Papal Office of Charities,  the “Gift of Mary” dormitory which has been offering shelter to homeless women since 1988.

With the addition of the “Gift of Mercy”, the Vatican is now in a position to offer a bed to a total of 84 people without a fixed abode.