Domus Sanctae Marthae
|Domus Sanctae Marthae|
The Domus Sanctae Marthae seen from the dome of St. Peter's Basilica
The Domus Sanctæ Marthæ (Latin for Saint Martha's House) is a building completed in 1996 adjacent to Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. Built during the reign of Pope John Paul II, it functions as a guest house for clergy having business with the Holy See, as the hotel residence of the members of the College of Cardinals when they are participating in a papal conclave to elect a new pope, and as the current home of Pope Francis.
Building and facilities 
Pope John Paul II, after participating in two conclaves, decided to make the process more comfortable and less strenuous on the elderly Cardinals and commissioned the construction of Domus Sanctæ Marthæ. He specified it would serve for conclaves and "ecclesiastical personnel serving at the Secretariat of State and, as far as possible, at other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, as well as to cardinals and bishops visiting Vatican City to see the Pope or to participate in events and meetings organized by the Holy See." Laymen have stayed there as well.
The hotel cost US$20 million with $13 million of it pledged initially by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, casino owner John E. Connelly, who later received a contract to sell copies of Vatican art in the United States. Connelly did not fulfill his initial financial commitment after his business interests encountered financial setbacks. His art contract was also rescinded after he failed to extend his marketing efforts beyond Pittsburgh.
Connelly proposed Louis D. Astorino, a Pittsburgh-based architect, to design the building. When his design was rejected, Astorino remained as supervisory architect and designed the adjoining Chapel of the Holy Spirit. Astorino is the first American architect to design a structure in the Vatican.
Its amenities include furnished bedrooms, lavatories, and studies for each occupant. Dining facilities and personal services are also offered. Professor Mary Ann Glendon, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See in 2008-2009, has described the accommodations as "comfortable, but by no means deluxe".
Previous structure 
The St. Martha Hospice occupied the site until 1996. Pope Leo XIII had it built in 1891 when it was feared that the cholera epidemic of that era might reach Rome, which it did not. The building was used instead to provide services to the sick of Rome's Borgo and Trastevere neighborhoods and as a hospice for pilgrims. Electricity was provided in 1901 and a chapel added in 1902. Medical services expanded to cover priests and Swiss Guards. During World War II this structure was used by refugees, Jews, and ambassadors from countries that had broken diplomatic relations with Italy. At the end of that war, Pope Pius XII greeted 800 Roman children who breakfasted at St. Martha Hospice after making their First Communion. It served as the old age home where a senior cleric could live his last years. Increasingly it served as a residence for clerics assigned to Vatican offices.
Earlier conclaves 
Prior to the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis promulgated on February 22, 1996, that changed the rules governing papal conclaves, conclave participants slept in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, on rented cots, usually borrowed from seminaries in Rome. After participants were sealed there under lock and key, the electors lived in makeshift rooms built throughout the palace, some within hallways and offices. The rooms, assigned to each Cardinal by lot, were often divided from one another by a sheet hanging on a rope. Each room was equipped with a Crucifix and prie-dieu, a desk, and one or two chairs. The Cardinals shared common bathrooms, often with ten Cardinals assigned to each. The situation was especially difficult for the elderly among them.
As with previous practice, the Cardinals were assigned their rooms by lot. All radios, television sets and telephones were disconnected, in accordance with regulations which call for the Cardinals to be secluded from the outside world.
Papal residence 
On March 26, 2013, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis will not move into the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace, but will instead use Suite 201 of Domus Sanctae Marthae, after first remaining in the room he was assigned by lot at the start of the conclave that elected him.
Pope Francis is the first pope not to live in the papal apartment on the third floor of the Apostolic Palace since Pope Pius X moved into it in 1903. He plans to use the palace suite there as his working office where he will receive dignitaries and take meetings, while saying morning mass and taking communal meals in Domus Sanctae Marthae.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Domus Sanctae Marthae|
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