Vatican officials have offered a homeless woman one year of free housing after she gave birth near St. Peter's Square this week in the freezing cold.
The homeless woman, whose name has not been revealed to the public, gave birth on a piece of cardboard near St. Peter's Square at around 2 a.m. Wednesday in zero-degree weather. She was noticed and offered help by a Vatican patrol car shortly after giving birth.
"When I got close I saw that the baby was already born and was still attached by the umbilical cord to the mother," Maria Capone, one of the officers who noticed the woman in the cold, told The Associated Press. "With my colleagues we tried to warm them up. We covered them with our uniform jackets."
The woman, who is of Romanian descent, was then admitted to the nearby Santo Spirito hospital with her newborn baby girl, where she is reported to be in healthy condition.
Vatican Radio reported Wednesday that the new mother was then visited by Vatican official Monsignor Konrad Krajewski while at the hospital.
Krajewski, who is head of the Vatican's charitable services branch, offered the woman one year of free housing in facilities that provide help for women and children in need. The facilities are owned and operated by the Blessed Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity..
Local media outlets report that the woman is "thinking about" the Vatican's offer.
Krajewski was already familiar with the mother, as she and her partner have visited Vatican facilities provided to the homeless.
The Vatican reports that the woman had been offered resources during her pregnancy, and the recent offer of housing is an extension of these services.
Pope Francis has been a major proponent of offering help to people living in poverty throughout the world, repeatedly visiting homeless shelters in different countries and voicing the importance of helping those who have less.
In October 2015, the pontiff made a surprise visit to 30 homeless men staying at the newly-built Gift of Mercy facility located on the outskirts of Rome.
Francis also spoke on the homeless problem in the U.S. when he visited in late 2015, saying there is "no justification whatsoever" for the lack of housing in Washington D.C. and elsewhere in the country.
During a speech in the House chamber to members of Congress, the pontiff called on lawmakers to help those who are most vulnerable. "Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility," the pope said during the event attended by The Christian Post. "A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you."