ROME, April 11 (IANS): Pope Francis has opened a free launderette in Rome in the latest of a series of initiatives for poor people that has included help with housing, showers, haircuts, meals and medical care.
Six washing machines and dryers were donated to the facility in the city centre. Detergent, fabric softener and a number of irons have also been provided, it was reported on Tuesday.
The Lavanderia di Papa Francesco (Pope Francis Laundry) intended to “restore dignity to many people who are our brothers and sisters”, the Vatican said.
It is designed to serve “the poorest people, particularly the homeless, who will be able to wash, dry and iron their clothes and blankets”.
The launderette is located in a former hospital near the Vatican. Showers, a barbershop and medical facilities will also be added.
Two years ago, the Pope opened a shower and barber service next to St. Peter’s Basilica and a dormitory nearby.
On his 78th birthday two years ago, the Pope distributed hundreds of sleeping bags to homeless people in Rome.
On Maundy Thursday, a Chrisitan holy day, this week, Francis will wash the feet of prisoners in Paliano, south of Rome.
Last year, he washed the feet of refugees, including Muslims, Hindus and Coptic Orthodox men and women, at a centre for asylum seekers.