Why Pope Francis’ Living Arrangements Matter – To Me

From Zenit via Fr. Lombardi, Holy See Press Office Director, this morning came the news of Pope Francis’ latest surprise – he will, for the time being, remain domiciled in Domus Sanctae Martae where he has been living since becoming our Pontiff.

Here’s an eye-catching video from Catholic News Service that gives us an inside peek at the place he’s calling “home”:

I feel certain that in making this decision, Pope Francis is in no way commenting on the living arrangements of his predecessors. From viewing video of his interactions with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI from this past weekend, his obvious respect and affection shine through. I found it interesting that in the Zenit article, Fr. Lombardi seems to dwell specifically on the “communal” nature of his current housing arrangements. Can you imagine what a gift it will be for those who are graced to live in the company of Pope Francis? But also — and importantly — what a blessing it will be for him to live amidst friends and neighbors who will pray not only for him, but with him, on a daily basis.

Pope Francis’ housing decision comes at an interesting time for me. On Sunday, my husband and I spent a few hours “house hunting” in a nearby community. Next Fall, when our Adam leaves for college, we will be “empty nesters”. Our current home is an amazing blessing, but I continue to ask myself if the two of us really need the space — and the mortgage payment — of our family-sized house. It’s unlikely that we will make a decision any time soon. I’m completely uninterested in the process and pretty domestically-impaired. And we still have several months before our youngest flies the coop.

But when we do look, I know I will be pondering the continual example Pope Francis is living for all of us. I already caught myself thinking of him yesterday in Target, when — en route to the checkout stand — I pulled my cart over and unloaded several impulse-buy items that suddenly didn’t seem so necessary. “What else can be done with that money?” I challenged myself. “WWPFD?”

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not declaring that Greg and I will be packing up and moving into an austere dormitory an time soon. But I can tell you when the time comes to prayerfully consider our future living arrangements, the example of our Holy Father and his lifestyle choices will be ringing in my ears and weighing on my heart.

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About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa Hendey is the founder and webmaster of CatholicMom.com and the author of The Grace of YesA Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and is a frequent television and radio guest and host. Visit her at LisaHendey.com and connect with her at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

  • http://www.mypricelessfishers.com Tina

    He sure gives us a lot to think about doesn’t he? I’m so thankful in so many ways. I recently watched a documentary on Fulton Sheen….his apartment was absolutely beautiful and very very simple. Makes me think twice as well.

    Thanks for all you do Lisa!

    • Lisa M. Hendey

      Thanks Tina — I love Venerable Fulton! What was the name of the documentary? I’d like to watch it!

  • Birthday girl

    He is a religious priest, after all, the Jesuits usually live in community. Not surprising that he would want that.

  • http://inspiredangela.wordpress.com Angela Sealana

    I agree, Lisa – Pope Francis has already given me so much on which I’ve been meditating. I appreciate his sincere example.

  • Barb

    Hi Lisa,
    Is the papal apartment going to be used by someone else? If not, won’t the Pope then have two apartments? Even if he doesn’t use one it will still have to be kept up. I think he can respect his position and move into the papal apartment and still be humble or, maybe I’m missing something.

    • Lisa M. Hendey

      That’s a good question Barb — indeed, the only thing I know about this is what I read in the article I shared above, but it also seems that “Birthday girl” comments above make sense, that he desires to live in community. It will be interesting to see if this is a permanent arrangement.

  • midwestlady

    Actually, the place where he is right now is very nice. And perhaps he doesn’t want the isolation that the other living space will subject him to. Perhaps the other place can be turned into offices or something for the duration of his pontificate. I’m very good with waiting to see what he decides. I think it’s up to him.

  • http://www.christophersmith-op.com Christopher Smith


    Great post (as usual)! Since I don’t have the same situation going on in my life, with kids leaving home, I took a bit of a different viewpoint on Pope Francis’ decision. I’ll leave the link here for you to check out when you have the time and I’d be interested in your feedback. I hope you and your family have a blessed Holy Week.



  • http://kristenwestmcguire.wordpress.com Kristen

    I still have 5 at home, but they are leaving fast…and your article mirrors a lot of internal thoughts that have made their way into conversation a bit over the past month. (Do you guys really need to get a limo for the prom? Is it truly necessary for us to go out for dinner that night? what kind of dress would honor our new pope this Easter — maybe you don’t need a new one?)

    Great article! SO glad you wrote it!

  • Irenic

    WWPFD? Love it!

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  • http://JoyAlive.net Nancy Ward

    I’m reminded of a slogan that a missionary couple took as their own: “We live simply that others may simply live.” So this is the example of Pope Francis and it seems to be catching! In these economic times we are all challenged to not only live within our means but to simplify in ways that are meaningful to us and that prepare us for whatever God brings next.

  • Yae

    I read that where Papa Francis is currently planning to stay is a short walking distance from where Papa Benedict will be living at the end of May. The thought of him walking over to visit without having to resort to all the red tape that would come from living in the Apostolic Palace is a wonderful and very consoling one indeed. Now, granted, he would be respectful of Papa Benedict’s desire for solitude but the mere thought of them so close to each other makes me so happy and so grateful to Jesus for such a gift to the entire Church.