Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Inside the Domus Sanctae Marthae
How do I have a collection of photos from inside the Domus Sanctae Marthae? you ask. Have the Blackfen papal ninjas organised a black op to get photos for the Hermeneutic of Continuity? The answer is more prosaic, I'm afraid. Back in 2010, for the International Colloquium of the Confraternities of Catholic Clergy I stayed there along with most of the other priests. I thought that I should take some photos of the room I was allocated (one of the better ones as it happens) since they might come in useful one day. Well I suppose today is that day.
Above you can see the house chapel. Here is the study part of my superior room (the Cardinals are allocated the rooms by lot.)
and here is the bedroom part:
There are good, tall, cassock-friendly wardrobes with plenty of space (it has to be assumed that the Cardinals might be staying for a few weeks, even if most recent conclaves have been short)
An interesting point for Americans; here is the small organ in the chapel:
The modest plaque tells that it was donated by the Knights of Columbus:
The Cardinals were due to arrive at 7am today (Cardinal Sodano seems to be a hard taskmaster) and will be settling in. The Domus Sanctae Marthae was described in the past by some breathless reporters as a "Five Star Hotel." Not so much. It is clean, elegant and a pleasant place to stay, but there are no televisions in the rooms, and there is no bar. (There was a sign on the stairs that pointed promisingly to "Bar" but that actually meant a coffee machine and a soft drinks machine.)
With two other small chapels and a well-run refectory serving wholesome local food, there is everything that a priest, or indeed a Cardinal might need for a few days' stay, without any unnecessary luxuries. For me, the most attractive thing about staying there was to be inside the Vatican territory and just behind the sacristy of St Peter's.