Listening, playing and having an afternoon snack, Pope Francis spent time on 2nd March at a group home for women prisoners with small children.
He also left as a gift for the kids large, hollow chocolate eggs, each with a surprise inside. They are a standard part of Italian Easter celebrations.
The pope left the Vatican about 4pm and “without any advance notice” arrived at the Casa di Leda in Rome’s EUR neighbourhood, the Vatican press office said. The group home is located in a building confiscated from the mafia under an Italian program to turn former mafia properties into socially beneficial enterprises.
Casa di Leda is the first group home in Italy for incarcerated women with small children. The Vatican press office said some 4,500 Italian children have a mother in prison; some 90,000 have a father incarcerated. Italian law allows children to live in prison with their mothers until the age of six, although the law allows the use of house arrest or group homes for mothers of small children.
Pope Francis’ visit was part of an ongoing “Mercy Friday” initiative he began in the 2015-16 Year of Mercy.
Picture: Pope Francis visits the “Casa di Leda,” a group home for women prisoners and their young children, in Rome on 2nd March. The visit was one of the pope’s Friday works of mercy. (CNS photo/Vatican Media).