VATICAN CITY – Constructed in the 1800s, Palazzo Migliori used to be called the “Palace of the Best.” This year, thanks to the generosity and initiative of Pope Francis, the property can now be referred to as the “Palace of the Poor.”
Four stories tall and located by the colonnades of St. Peter’s Square, the building was donated to the Vatican in the 1930s. For the past seventy years, the palace served as the headquarters for the Calasanziane order, who ministered to single young mothers.
When the Calasanziane sisters moved to a new location, Pope Francis began to transform the palace into a haven for the poor and homeless of Rome.
The pontiff put Cardinal Konrad Krajewski (the papal almoner in charge of distributing money to the poor) in charge of the renovation.
“Beauty heals,” Pope Francis said at the inauguration of the building back in November 2019.
At the urging of the Vatican, renovation contractors employed the homeless of Rome for the project.
The center is staffed by the Community of Sant’Egidio, a lay Catholic association dedicated to social service. Under the guidance of Andrea Riccardi, the association was founded in 1968.
Inside the center, breakfast and supper are offered to the homeless. Around fifty men and women can stay in the sixteen dormitories found in the top two floors of the building.
But the center isn’t just a place for a hot meal and a warm bed. During the day, the center provides space for learning, job training, reading, recreation, and counseling.
Volunteers also prepare hot meals in the kitchen of the center and take them to the homeless who gather at Rome’s train stations.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons