Childrearing

Homeless Woman Gives Birth in Front of Vatican, Offered Free Housing by Pope’s Staff

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A homeless woman was attempting to escape the cold by huddling under the colonnades of St. Peter’s Square with her friends and family this week when she went into labor and wound up giving birth right in front of the Vatican. That sounds like the origin story of a great hero for her baby, but it also caught the attention of the Pope’s staff, specifically almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who has offered the family free housing for a year.

According to The Local, “almoner” is the title of a centuries-old Vatican position that involves helping the poor and needy. Krajewski’s job was a made bit easier than normal this week, because it is not often that a pregnant homeless woman has a baby right in front of the Vatican. If the almoner has any job at all, “do nice things for homeless women giving birth immediately in front of the Vatican” is probably near the top of that list.

The homeless woman is reportedly a 35-year-old Romanian woman named Maria Claudia who was camping out at St. Peter’s Square with her partner and the rest of their friends when she went into labor on Wednesday and delivered a baby girl on a piece of cardboard on the street at about 2 a.m. Temperatures at the time were near freezing.

After the baby’s birth, a policewoman found the family and wrapped the mother and newborn in her coat while they waited for an ambulance to take them to the hospital. The mother and baby girl are reportedly doing well now, and Krajewski reportedly visited them in the hospital.

A Vatican spokesperson said that Krajewski knew the woman, who sometimes showered at facilities near St. Peter’s Square that his office had built for the homeless.

Krajewski has offered the mother and her baby free residence for a year in a Vatican-owned nuns’ facility for women and children, but according to CBS the woman has not yet decided if she will take him up on the offer.

(Photo: Wikimedia/Wouter Engler)