Homeless woman goes into labor in St. Peter's Square; Vatican offers place to stay

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |   Jan. 21, 2016 at 7:05 AM
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VATICAN CITY, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- A homeless woman who went into labor in St. Peter's Square has been offered a year's free housing, a Vatican spokesman said.

The Romanian woman, identified as Maria Claudia, 35, was one of several homeless people who congregate at night in Piazza Pio XII, a square near Bernini's colonnade, the iconic pillars surrounding St. Peter's Square. She went into labor there early Wednesday morning.

The baby girl, named Irene by the mother and her 40-year-old Romanian partner weighed six pounds, six ounces when she was born at nearby Santo Spirito Hospital.

Archbishop John Krajewski, the official almoner -- an ancient Vatican position involved in distributing aid to the poor -- visited the new mother, who had accepted Vatican relief services in the past but declined offers of shelter at the hospital. It is not known if she accepted Krajewski's offer of free accommodation for a year at a Vatican-operated Missionaries of Charity women's shelter in Rome's Primavelle district.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi, when asked if the invitation came directly from Pope Francis, answered "Everything that is done for the homeless and all of Archbishop Krajewski's activities are done in the pope's name."

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