HOSPICE OF THE INNOCENT
A couple of years ago my daughter was studying abroad in Rome, Italy. I wrote about some of her adventures in a past post called, "Simply Kate". You can see it here. http://lorimcktia.blogspot.com/2009/11/simply-kate.html
She studied at the Constantine College, Due Santi campus in Albano just outside of Rome. It's an amazing and inspiring program. If you have a minute, take a look right here.
When Kate completed her studies and it was time for her to come home, my husband and I took our eldest son and the three of us set off on a pilgrimage of sorts to go and get her. The four of us had 10 days of adventures together, the memories of which will last a lifetime. Our travel log will be for another time but, I want to share with you this beautiful story of love.
Right across the square from where we stayed in Florienze there was, The Church Of Miracles. They say that many women go there to pray for babies they wish for. The church is full of people praying for a miracle.
Right next to The Church of Miracles is, The Hospice of the Innocent. We were especially interested in this building across the square from where we were staying in Florence. There, was an Italian orphanage with a child drop-off window.
The story goes that, when mothers couldn't take care of their babies, they would bring it and pass it through the bars of a certain window. The bars were only big enough to pass an infant through. The nuns would take the baby in and keep with the baby, 1/2 a blanket or toy which the mother would leave with the baby. She would take the other half with her. Then in a few years when the mother could take care of the baby, she would come to get it, bringing the other half of the toy and the nuns would match them up. If a mother didn't come back the nuns would raise the baby and teach it a profession or vocation and act as the family forever. All the children loved the nuns and came back to see them as family, often. This was not a sad thing because, the babies were well taken care of, there was no abortion and no babies were ever thrown in trash cans or discarded as they sometimes are now. That is the story as it was told to me and as I journaled it at the time. For a more detailed explanation of the Hospice I have copied the following explanation from the Atlas Obscura.