Homeless people in Rome will now have a place to wash their clothes and blankets, thanks to Pope Francis. The pope recently opened a free laundromat, the Lavanderia di Papa Francesco, or Pope Francis Laundry, with the goal of restoring “dignity to many people who are our brothers and sisters.”
The Pope Francis Laundry, in a former hospital near the Vatican in Rome’s city center, is stocked with six donated washing machines and dryers from the Whirlpool Corporation. Poor and homeless people have access to detergent, fabric softener, and irons provided there as well. The Community of Sant’Egidio, a Christian organization fighting poverty, will operate the free laundromat. Showers, medical facilities, and a barbershop are also planned for the site.
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According to the Vatican, the free laundromat is for “the poorest people, particularly the homeless, who will be able to wash, dry, and iron their clothes and blankets.”
This isn’t the first time Pope Francis has stepped out to help the poor. Outcasts or those on the edges of society have been a large focus of his papacy so far. He opened a shower and barber facility near St. Peter’s Basilica two years ago. That same year to mark his 78th birthday he passed out hundreds of sleeping bags to Rome’s homeless. Last September at the canonization celebration for Mother Teresa, he invited 1,500 homeless people to travel to Rome and occupy seats of honor, and eat a free pizza lunch.
He’s also housed refugee families in the Vatican. Last week three Syrian families moved in, replacing some families who have recently moved out to live on their own. Last year on Maundy Thursday, following Christian tradition, Pope Francis washed people’s feet, and the people whose feet he chose to wash were those of refugees and Muslims. This year for Maundy Thursday this week he will wash the feet of inmates at a prison south of Rome.
Via The Guardian
Images via Office Of Papal Charities/EPA, Community of Sant’Egidio Facebook, and Wikimedia Commons