Vatican, December 28, 2005 (Catholic World News) – Pope Benedict XVI will visit a Vatican pediatric clinic run by the Daughters of Charity on December 30th.
The Holy Father will make a midday visit to the Saint Martha clinic for needy children, set up inside the grounds of Vatican city in 1922 and administered by the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul.
In 1884, Pope Leo XIII asked the Daughters of Charity to come to Rome to care for the victims of a cholera epidemic then sweeping Italy. But the epidemic, which had produced disastrous results in southern Italy, spared the city of Rome. Instead the religious order set up a clinic on the south of the Vatican grounds, to provide free service for children of poor families in the area.
Today the Saint Martha clinic serves a constituency composed primarily of non-European immigrants living in Rome. A staff of 20 doctors and 40 volunteers, led by Sister Chiara Pfister, has provided care in 2005 for 700 young children, ranging in age from newborns to 2-year-olds.
After his visit to the clinic, Pope Benedict will proceed to the nearby Paul VI auditorium, for a concert by the Pueri Cantores.