Domus Sanctae Marthae

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The Domus Sanctae Marthae was built in 1996 to house the electors of the College of Cardinals gathered in conclave for a papal election. Pope John Paul II determined that the facilities in the Apostolic Palace, which had long been used to house the cardinals, were inadequate. Under the direction of the president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City, Cardinal Rosalio José Castillo Lara, the Domus Sanctae Marthae was built on the site of the old Santa Marta Hospice, which had been built by Pope Leo XIII and was a center of Allied diplomatic activity during World War II. It is situated in the Piazza Santa Marta opposite Saint Peter's Basilica, hard against the Vatican Wall, between the Paul VI Audience Hall and the Palazzo San Carlo. The cardinals will live, eat, and pray at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, but the voting sessions will be held twice each day in the Sistine Chapel. The new building of a basement and six floors comprises 130 apartments and a range of chapels, dining rooms, and meeting rooms. There are approximately 40 permanent residents, mainly priests working in the Secretariat of State, who would be housed elsewhere during a conclave. The Domus Sanctae Marthae also accommodates groups both large and small for meetings and formal dinners on various occasions. The administration of the house is entrusted to the Daughters of Charity, whose presence in the Vatican City is of long standing.

[m. coleridge]