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Vatican briefing on cardinals' residence during conclave

March 07, 2013

In its latest briefing for reporters covering the sede vacante period, the Vatican press office has produced a detailed description of the Domus Sanctae Marthae (St. Martha House), where cardinal-electors will be lodged during the conclave.

Built in 1996, the Domus Sanctae Marthae has 106 suites and 22 single rooms spread across its 5 floors. The building stands on the site of what was once a hospital, built in 1891 to serve victims of a cholera epidemic. During World War II the building housed refugees, including many Jews fleeing from the Holocaust.

During the conclave, the Domus Sanctae Marthae will house only the cardinals and a small support staff, including the secretary of the College of Cardinals, the master of ceremonies for papal liturgies, priest-confessors, doctors, cooks, and cleaning staff. Most cardinals will make the short daily walk from the residence to the Sistine Chapel, but a small bus will be available for those cardinals who find the trip a difficulty.

The cardinals will only move into their temporary quarters in the Domus Sanctae Marthae on the eve of the conclave. They will be assigned to rooms by a random drawing.


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