National Vocations Awareness Week
There are eight Daughters of Charity presently at St. Martha's House.
Daughters of Charity's house is home to Pope Francis
Pope Francis has chosen to live with the Daughters of Charity at St. Martha House on the Vatican property. The virtues which the Daughters of Charity strive to live by are humility, simplicity and charity.
The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul have been at St. Martha House (Casa Santa Marta/Domus Sanctae Marthae) since 1884.
Pope Leo XIII requested that the Daughters of Charity come to care for the sick during the cholera epidemic. Since the epidemic never reached the city of Rome the Vatican Hospital remained empty.
In 1887, on his jubilee as a priest, Pope Leo XIII gave the hospital to be used as a place of hospitality for pilgrims of more modest incomes. The pilgrims at that time could stay for free. It was called "Santa Marta Hospice." I think its purpose is more clear if we refer to it as a free hostel. The Daughters of Charity do have another place outside the Vatican walls where pilgrims and others can rent a room and eat http://casamariaimmacolata.com/homepageeng.htm.
In modern times, St. Martha's House still received pilgrims for a low price. The Vatican also requested other services of the Daughters of Charity and the "house" was enlarged. Refugee ambassadors were received during World War II when they could not remain in Rome. The house has also welcomed Prelates working at the Secretariat of State, the Sisters have worked in the Vatican Dispensary (clinic), served in the dining rooms for the Vatican workers and the Vatican guard who have low incomes. There had also been a social service center attached to the house.
Sister Evelyne Franc, international superior, wrote: ""Let us ask ourselves if we evangelize by our lives and our service or if instead we serve those who are poor in a rush, like busy, agitated "Marthas," victims of activism that scatters and leads to a superficial life. We cannot forget that the driving force of service, its soul, is prayer life, the interior life."
Today St. Martha's House is no longer a place for pilgrims. It is used for hospitality for visiting bishops and cardinals (maybe some priests too on Vatican business) — and now the home of the Pope Francis!
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