The “Pope Francis’ Laundry” has officially opened today and offers a free service for the homeless and disadvantaged people: a new laundromat, with washing, drying and ironing services for those without a home or a fixed living situation.
This laundry room is managed by the Community of Sant’Egidio and will be run by volunteers who will wash, dry and iron the clothes and blankets of those who otherwise can’t clean their belongings.
The service, located in an old hospital in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood, includes six brand-new washers and dryers along with several irons, donated by Whirlpool Corporation, in line with its Corporate Giving Policy that includes “provision to families with adequate, safe and affordable housing solutions” among the pillars. Laundry detergents needed for the service have been donated by Procter & Gamble.
The initiative is a key step of a bigger social responsibility project that includes also showers, a barber, wardrobe, medical services and distribution of essential goods.
As the bishop chaplain Konrad Krajewski explains, the initiative was urged by the Pope’s invitation, “to give concreteness ” to the experience of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. So was written on the Apostolic Letter Misericordia et misera, at the conclusion of the Jubilee: “The desire for closeness to Christ requires us to draw near to our brothers and sisters, for nothing is more pleasing to the Father than a true sign of mercy. By its very nature, mercy becomes visible and tangible in specific acts.”