Melania Trump to visit Vatican-owned children's hospital in Rome

Melania Trump to visit Vatican-owned children’s hospital in Rome

First Lady Melania Trump is expected to greet the young patients of a Vatican-owned children’s hospital after her meeting with Pope Francis on Wednesday. Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter, will visit the Rome-based Sant’Egidio movement on the same day, to speak about human trafficking.

ROME — Melania Trump, wife of President Donald Trump, will visit the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital after the couple meet with Pope Francis on Wednesday morning.

The hospital is located near the Vatican, on Rome’s Janiculum hill, next door to the Pontifical North American College, the seminary established to train priests for the United States.

The president and first lady will meet briefly with Pope Francis at 8:30, before taking a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Bambino Gesù was founded in 1869, and is now considered the most important children’s hospital in Italy.

Francis has taken a keen interest in the hospital, making a three-hour visit at Christmas in 2013, the year he was elected.

Last month, the pope welcomed staff and patients to the Vatican, telling them he sensed that the medical facility was “more than a hospital, this is a family” because medical staff always introduced the children to him by their names, knew their life stories, and only mentioned their illnesses last, like a side note.

The pope has also asked the hospital to create a partnership with a the Pediatric Hospital of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic.

The Bambino Gesù is also involved in projects in Jordan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Ethiopia and the Holy Land – as well as offering indigent care for the children of Italy and surrounding countries.

The first lady is expected to greet patients in one of the wards, visit one of the hospital’s playrooms, and make a stop in the chapel.

Also travelling with the president to the Vatican is his daughter, Ivanka. While in Rome, she will meet with the Community of Sant’Egidio to discuss efforts to combat human trafficking.

The community is based in the Roman neighborhood of Trastevere, and is named for the church there in which it held its initial meetings, which is called “St. Giles” in English. Sant’Egidio is a favorite of Francis, who has repeatedly praised the group.

During the session with Sant’Egidio, Ivanka is expected to meet several female victims of human trafficking and to discuss ways in which the U.S. government and the Church may be able to collaborate.

In 2007, President George W. Bush had to cancel a trip to the Sant’Egidio headquarters, due to security concerns. He later met with leaders of the movement at the U.S. Embassy, thanking them for “being a part of the international army of compassion.”

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