The former Society of Mary owned building Via Cernia, in Rome, is now open as a centre for pilgrims.
The building was used by the Marist Fathers for those studying in Rome, however was sold by the Italian Marist province to the Archdiocese of Sydney.
After considerable work, Domus Australia, as it is now called, is now accepting bookings from July onwards.
Sydney’s Cardinal George Pell described the newly renovated pilgrim centre as “a house, a community of religious inspiration”.
“It’s a house, a community of religious inspiration. We won’t be satisfied if it’s a religious building but pretty empty and secular,” Pell said.
“The ambition is to encourage tourists to become pilgrims and to deepen their faith, to deepen their goodness. There will be Mass every day, regular opportunities for confession.”
“The thinking was to create in a very old tradition of pilgrim centres in Rome,” the Rector of Domus Australia, Fr Anthony Denton said.
“That means that Australians can come here and have some sort of orientation when they visit Rome rather than just get stuck on the number 64 bus, getting robbed. They can actually come here and get information and have a nice place to stay.”
The Society of Mary is currently using its General House to accommodate students studying to be Marist formators.
From 2012, with the exception of its Oceania students, it is intended all Marist seminarians will study theology in Rome.