Where Did the Cardinals Stay Before Electing a New Pope?
The world held its breath over the past three days while 115 cardinals from 69 countries were flown into Rome to put on their thinking caps and come up with a new pope to lead the world's 1.6 billion Catholics. Luckily, the decision-making didn't drag on too long (hi, Pope Francis!), but we remained curious about one thing: where do these cardinals like to stay during their visit to Vatican City?
A little digging revealed there is, in fact, a designated hotel for members of the conclave known as Domus Sanctae Marthae. Partly funded by an American entrepreneur and casino mogul called John Connolly, the six-story building went up in 1996 with 106 modest suites, 22 single rooms, a Patriarchal Suite, a dining room, a lobby with marble floors, and an adjoining chapel.
The media often likes to portray this place as a "secret, five-star hotel," though, as the laugh-out-loud The Impractical Catholic blog puts it, "it's a bit more than an ecclesiastical Motel 6."
This article on The Independent helped us with our research, though it was The Impractical Catholic who made us giggle with gems like:
"Over six years of my working life were spent booking rooms for two major hotel chains. And I gotta tell ya — a Renaissance or Adams Mark this ain't."
Just as well, then, if the new Pope Francis ever stays here. For a guy who shocked the world on his first day by riding the bus, this kind of hotel would be right up his holy alley.
[Photos: The Hermeneutic of Continuity]